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The CIC has directed the DoPT to produce the relevant file on Cabinet Decision for its perusal.
The matter came up while hearing an appeal filed by Smt. Aruna Roy & Shri Shekhar Singh. The appellants had earlier sought information on the decisions of Council of Ministers regarding amendments to be made in the Right to Information Act, 2005, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken in July 2006.
The Public Information Officer of the DOPT, Shri B.M. Sehgal vide his letter dated 22nd August, 2007 informed the appellants that the information requested by them under the Right to Information Act cannot be provided. The PIO also informed that based on the experience of working of the Right to Information Ac, 2005, the Government proposes to make certain amendments in the Act of 2005. The proposed Amendment Bill is yet to be considered by the Parliament and, as such, the matter is not yet complete or over. It is, therefore, not feasible to furnish details of the decisions of Council of Ministers at this stage. The First Appellate Authority of DoPT also concurred with the views of the PIO.
Aggrieved over the decision of the FAA, the present appeal was made before the CIC, where in the appellants contended that " the CPIO and the Appellate Authority are mistaken in holding that the matter is not yet complete or over". The appellants further submitted that another session of Parliament has come to a close and the matter has not again been introduced in Parliament. This clearly shows that the Government, as the concerned Minister has publicly stated, intend to re-examine the issue. Therefore, clearly the earlier Cabinet decision is no longer pending introduction in Parliament and information relating to it cannot be exempt under Section 8(1)(i) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
After hearing both parties to the proceedings and perusing the record, the Commission came to the view that the only issue that needs to be decided in this case is as to whether the Cabinet has taken any decision as regards the amendment to the Right to Information Act, 2005. If the decision has been taken in this regard, it becomes liable to be disclosed under the Right to Information Act and the appellants are entitled to get the information sought by them. However, if as contended by the Government, the matter is still pending and the same is not over, the proviso to Section 8(1)(i) does not apply and, as such, the entire material concerning a proposed amendment to the Right to Information Act remains exempt under Section 8(1)(i).
In its interim decision the This Commission said that it is left with no other alternative but to call for the relevant records to ascertain as to whether a decision has been taken in one way or the other to determine whether the matter is complete or over. The Commission, therefore, has called for the relevant documents and accordingly the concerned public authority has been directed to produce the relevant file for perusal of the Commission on 05.11.2007. Appropriate decision will be passed and directions issued if any, only thereafter by the Commission.
Decision No. CIC/WB/A/2006/01022 dated 18/10/2007 on Appeal from Smt. Aruna Roy & Shri Shekhar Singh Vs DoPT
We had asked for copies of documents under the RTI Act from different Authorities. All of them charged different amount for the copies. BMC charged Rs. 20 per page, Police charged Rs. 1 per page, MHADA charged Rs. 2 per page, etc. Is it normal to charge different amount by different offices?