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karira

IC SA admonishes appellant for multiple RTI applications

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karira

In a recent decision, IC SA in the CIC has admonished a RTI applicant for filing multiple RTI applications:

 

 

http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SA_A_2014_900708_M_148306.pdf

 

Summary:The appellant/complainant repeatedly stated: “Ï will repeatedly file RTIapplications till I get the information, what can you do?”

 

The Commission holds that:

 

a) Once the information is given to the appellant it is held by the appellant, or if itis kept on website or public domain, or when legally refused by the appropriateauthority, i.e., CPIO (after appeal period is exhausted), or First AppellateAuthority (after period for second appeal is exhausted) or InformationCommission, the appellant has no right to file another RTI request for thatinformation.

 

b) In such cases it is deemed that the Authority ceased to hold that information tothe extent of applicant’s RTI request.

 

c) The information which public authority does not hold cannot be given.

 

d) An RTI applicant has no right to ask the same question/s or substantially samequestion/s with slightly altered sentences.

 

e) The RTI Act has not provided anywhere that the applicant can file RTI requeststill the information sought is given.

 

f) If any appellant asks for it, such an application could be rejected.

 

g) If the appellant files further appeal before the Commission the Commission canimpose costs on the appellant to compensate the loss suffered by CPIO, FirstAppellate Authority and the Commission, as they cannot waste public moneyand time on these repeated applications.

 

 

The Commission observes that any repetition of a RTI application or adding one or twopoints to the already sought information via previous RTI application would cause wasteof time and energy of the Public Authority & the Commission, which is unreasonable asthe appellant is already holding the information given to his earlier application.

 

Therefore, the Commission advises the appellant, an advocate himself, who ispresumed to know the law, to restrain himself from abuse by repetition of a RTIapplication.The appellant abused Right to Information and also used insinuate and defamatorylanguage against the Central Information Commissioner repeatedly. In P. Jayasankar v.Chief Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu and Gunaseelan, I.P.S. decided by MadrasHigh Court on 18.2.2013, it was held that “no information seeker can be allowed toinsinuate or defame the Commissioners in the guise of prosecuting their cases….Undersuch circumstances, when specific power is vested on the Commissioner and theCommission had proceeded against the information seeker, who had abused the ChiefInformation Commissioner in the course of his proceedings, it will be open to the saidauthority to disqualify a particular information seeker by passing a speaking order.Commission, preferred to admonish him.

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karira

Here is the response from this particular applicant to the admonishment:

 

From: Mani Ram Sharma

Chairman, Indian National Bar Association, Churu- Chapter

Nakul Niwas,

Behind Roadways Depot

Sardarshahar- 331 403-7 District- Churu (Raj)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Dated: 20th Feb, 2015

 

The Hon’ble Chief information Commissioner,

Central Information Commission,

August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place,

New Delhi -110066

 

Sir,

 

PASSING OF ADVERSE REMARKS AGAINST PETITIONER IN THE MATTER CIC/SA/A/2014/900704 ETC

 

I wish to request you though I have not abused during hearing but unfortunately the Hon’ble Commission has passed certain adverse remarks against the petitioner in it’s decision of the case above. It is a fundamental right of a petitioner to agitate against any wrongful acts during hearing especial when the hearing authority is bent upon to hear less and speak more for the respondent. It appears as if the hearing authority is favouring and advocating for the respondent, and he has lost impartiality. Your pointed attention was also drawn to the matter earlier about one year ago vide my requests dated 10.02.14 addressed to all the Commissioners separately (copy enclosed for ready reference). I regret to say that the situation has not improved so far.

 

The Hon’ble Commission has, inter alia, observed in it’s decision above, “I will repeat the RTI applications any number of times, even after taking the documents, I will ask for same documents. What is your loss (of Commission)? I am paying fee, not you (Commission). You don’t advise; just do hearing, that’s all. I will apply again and again till the information is given.” The above observation in itself is adulterated. What has been required by an applicant and whatever have been provided is already thereon case files which needs no better oral clarification from either parties. The Hon’ble Commission, if unbiased, may compare the application with the reply and information given by the PIO and may decide accordingly even in the absence of both of parties. If the file is not to be gone through by the Hearing Authority then the filing of written complaints/appeals/rejoinders is rendered redundant and meaningless. If the Hearing Authority is inclined to not to consider the facts in material form on record it can’t be believed by a man of ordinary prudence that the oral submissions may fetch something.

 

So far as the question of filing repeated requests is concerned, it may kindly be noted:

 

i) The principle of res judicata applies to judicial proceedings and RTI application is not a proceeding,

ii) The RTI application is not a free service but a paid service under a right given by Parliament,

iii) The PIOs are servants of this democracy paid out of funds contributed by citizens and not masters AND the time and sources belongs to public. They work for money and still they feel harassed providing information against prescribed fees they are free to say good bye as per rules. The Public Servants are not appointed to oppress citizens and do injustice. Though the proceedings in Commission are of summary in nature yet three proven cases for imposition of penalty on the same PIOs namely have been hovering in the commission since June2014.

iv) The Act does not bar filing of frequent applications,

v) An information obtained earlier may be lost at the hands of an applicant and he may require the same again,

vi) The status of information may change at a later stage for the reason of progress – specially when an ATR report is called for on a letter as the suo mottu disclosures u/s 4 requires updatation after every 6 months,

vii) Most of the PIOs have not complied with provisions of suo motu disclosure and thereby inviting filing of frequent applications by aspirant applicants. In the given situation, applicants could not be blamed when the PIOs and Commission are not serious and sincere to their legal obligations to adhere to the time bound proactive disclosure.

viii) Information may be refused those exempted from disclosure u/s 8 only. The Legislature is aware of the situation and it had not provided for exemption of information given earlier to an applicant. The Commission or the PIO has no authority to cook new grounds for exemption. If the PIO feels that he is being harassed by frequent applications better he should comply with suo motu disclosure and refer to URLs in response to such applications. Contrary to the position PIO has not been complying with suo mottu disclosure and thereby infringing the benevolent Right of Citizens given by Legislature, and harassing & compelling them to apply unnecessarily for information required which would have been in public domain otherwise.

ix) There is no bar to obtaining number of copies or file frequent applications for copy of a record from judicial or quasi-judicial bodies after paying the prescribed fees,

 

The other adverse remarks passed against petitioner are concocted and false to that extent. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has pleased to say “Law is well settled that where a power is given to do certain thing in certain way, the thing must be done in that way or not at all and that other methods of performance are necessarily forbidden.” SC:Appeal (civil) 4262 of 2003 Ram Phal Kundu vs Kamal Sharma

 

The Hon’ble Commission has out-stepped it’s lawful Authority while passing such remarks and decision prejudicial to the interests of justice. Therefore it is requested that the false and unlawful remarks passed in the cases be expunged to promote the Right to Information.

 

FOR THIS ACT OF KINDNESS THE PETITIONER SHALL EVER BE DUTY BOUND.

 

Sincerely yours

 

Mani Ram Sharma

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

From: Mani Ram Sharma

Chairman, Indian National Bar Association, Churu- Chapter

Nakul Niwas,

Behind Roadways Depot

Sardarshahar- 331 403-7 District- Churu (Raj)

Email:maniramsharma@gmail.com

 

Dated: 10th Feb, 2014

 

Sh. Vijai Sharma

The Information Commissioner,

Central Information Commission,

New Delhi

 

,

 

IMPARTIAL HEARING OF PETITIONS

 

I wish to draw your pointed attention to the hearing of Appeals and Complaints in the Commission.

 

An appeal/complaint is a case between the contestants, and they should be given sufficient opportunity to present their case. An Information Commissioner is a hearing authority who should pay attention to the arguments advanced by the contesting parties, should speak less but hear more. The IC is expected to be fair & neutral and give an impartial hearing to the parties before him without any favour or fear as sworn in by him, hear the submissions of parties and conclude on the strength of material put forth before him. But I have observed that the opponent did not speak even a single word during the whole hearing and the ICs argue on his behalf without impunity as if he has been engaged to profess for respondent. This tactics adopted by a hearing authority loosens his impartiality, neutrality and the credibility of the High Office is at stake by such untoward behaviour.

 

Therefore all the ICs should exercise restraint and desist to favour any party in future and afford sufficient opportunity to parties & conclude only on the strength of submissions of parties rather than to adulterate anything at his own initiative.

 

Let me know the concrete steps taken by your good self in this behalf. Meanwhile please acknowledge receipt.

 

 

Sincerely yours

 

 

Mani Ram Sharma

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Prasad GLN

This is surprising. When PIO is statutorily bound to provide the information, he is left scot free and in serious cases, a show cause notice was issued.

Is it not the duty of such IC to issue such notice to appellant also and seek such explanation before passing such orders?

Why should not IC file cases against such appellants himself in SC and get their learned opinion before preaching what is there in RTI Act and what is not, as though appellants are stupids and seek same information again and again which involve costs, time,energy.

Is this not amounting to diluting RTI Act ?

If one can refer the matter to SC, it can only be possible with appellants like Mani Ram Sharma who is himself an advocate and can interpret atleast sections in simple RTI Act though not an expert in Constituttional Expert like Hon IC.

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