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Important RTI Decisions

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Find here important decisions of Information Commissions & Courts.

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  1. Applicant cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed

    The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Khanapuram Gandaiah Vs. Administrative Officer and Ors. Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.34868 OF 2009 (Decided on January 4, 2010) had held as under: 6.
    “....Under the RTI Act “information” is defined under Section 2(f) which provides: “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”
    This definition shows that an applicant under Section 6 of the RTI Act can get any information which is already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law. Of course, under the RTI Act an applicant is entitled to get copy of the opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed.” 7.
    “....the Public Information Officer is not supposed to have any material which is not before him; or any information he could have obtained under law. Under Section 6 of the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get only such information which can be accessed by the “public authority” under any other law for the time being in force. The answers sought by the petitioner in the application could not have been with the public authority nor could he have had access to this information and Respondent No. 4 was not obliged to give any reasons as to why he had taken such a decision in the matter which was before him.” 

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  2. Not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant

    In this context a reference was made to the Hon’ble Supreme Court decision in 2011 (8) SCC 497 (CBSE Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay), wherein it was held as under: 35.....
    “It is also not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant. The reference to ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ in the definition of ‘information’ in section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.” 

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  3. Information pertaining to corruption cannot be denied

    Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana in the matter of Subhash v. State Information Commission, Civil Writ Petition No.17718 of 2014 (O&M) dated 26.7.2016 had held as under: 
    “This Court is of the opinion that reliance upon the judgment of the Apex Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande's case (supra) in the facts and circumstances of the case was not justified. A perusal of the said judgment would go on to show that information sought was pertaining to personal matter of the service career and also details of assets and liabilities of the respondent which was sought under the Act. Resultantly, the Apex Court after examining Section 8(1)(j) of the Act came to the conclusion that the gifts which were accepted by the third respondent, his family members, friends and relatives which were found mention in the Income Tax Returns would be personal information which could be denied under the above said provisions. It was further held that copies of the memos, show cause notices and censure/punishment and details of the investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions could not be given to the applicant since it would amount to unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual.
    In the present case as noticed from the application, no personal information as such is being sought for against any one officer. General detail of the corruption cases pending against the serving and retired public servants and as to whether in spite of registration of such corruption cases, the service benefits to such officers had been given or not and which officer had passed such orders were sought for. It is thus apparent that what is being sought is the information relating to corruption and it is not the information pertaining to a particular individual as such. The respondent- Commissioner, however, in spite of noticing the fact that the appellant had raised this issue has not given any valid reason while upholding the orders of authorities below and has only given a stamp of approval to the same. The Division Bench of this Court in First Appellate Authority-cum-Additional Director General of Police and another Vs. 7 of 11 *** Chief Information Commissioner, Haryana and another 2011 AIR (Punjab) 168 while noting the purpose of the Act, held that information pertaining to corruption is a relevant document and cannot be denied. It was held that such information leads to transparent administration which is antithesis of corruption.”

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  4. Upper Ceiling of RTI Fee for application fixed for Rs.50/- and photocopy charges for Rs.5/-

    Upper Ceiling For RTI Fee for application fixed for Rs.50/- and photocopy charges for Rs.5/-
    Supreme Court Stated that
    The first objection of the petitioners was that the charges for the application fee and per page charges for the information supplied should be reasonable.

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  5. You can take counsel with you during Inspection of record under RTI- Delhi High Court

    An Applicant during inspection of the concerned records can be accompanied by his counsel or an authorized representative.
    If the petitioner, for some reasons, felt inhibited due to his not being fluent in English, denial of appropriate assistance in fact would have resulted in withholding access to information. Surely, that is not the object of the Act or even the order. In these circumstances, the respondents should grant the petitioner's request. Accordingly, the respondent No.1 is directed to permit inspection of the concerned records by the petitioner, who can be accompanied by his counsel or an authorized representative.

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  6. Service Book of Government Employee under RTI

    The Service book of Government employee can be disclosed under Right to Information Act 2005
    With the recent decision of Central Information Commission Service book of Government Employee can be disclosed under Right to Information Act 2005. This means a third party can have access to most of the information about the employee career including disciplinary action, his leave, place of posting etc.
    A Service book of Government Employee is maintained for every employee from the date of his first appointment. Every step in official life is recorded in it. All the pensionary benefits are sanctioned mainly on the basis of entries in the Service Book. Hence, it plays a prominent role in the timely settlement of pension cases and proper maintenance of Service Book eliminate delay in sanctioning and payment of pensionary benefits.
    The Service book of Government Employee consists of 2 volumes.
    VOLUME-I: Volume I of the Service Book is meant for recording the bio-data of the employees and various events of his service.
    VOLUME-II: The purpose of Volume-II of the Service Book is to place different types of nominees, declarations, pay fixation memos etc.
    The Service book of Government Employee contains following information of an employee
    Appointment and joining.Grant of increment or withholding of increment.Grant of Selection Grade.The crossing of efficiency bar.Fixation of pay.Grant of leave.Deputation/ transfer suspension or interruption in service along with details of the period thereof.Reinstatement.ResignationTermination of service along with its reasons.Promotion.Compulsory / Premature/ Voluntary Retirement.Removal or dismissal from service.Reversion.Reduction in rank or pay along with the precise reasons thereof viz. Whether reduction is on account of inefficiency or reduction in establishment or abolition of the post held by the employee.Retirement on superannuation.
    The Central Information Commission has decided an appeal  on Service book of Government Employee with following directions:
     The Commission holds that service details of Public servants available in the service book cannot be treated as personal information. (File No: CIC/AD/A/2011/000014)

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