Mere pendency of investigation / enquiry is not sufficient justification by itself for withholding the information. It must be shown by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) that the disclosure of the information would ‘impede’ or even on a lesser threshold ‘hamper’ or ‘interfere’ with the enquiry.
“13. Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right itself. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation or the prosecution of the offenders.
It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) and other such provisions would become a haven for dodging demands for information.”
Can one make RTI as a hobby? Especially when there is no public interest? In the hearing at Central Information Commission, an RTI applicant stated that ‘Filing RTI is my hobby, and there is no public interest in those RTI”.
CIC came heavily on to the applicant and stated that such hobby of filing RTI without any public interest causes loss of both time and energy of the Government and it causes disproportionate diversion of the resources of the public authority. (Clause 7 (9) of the RTI Act 2005)
CIC warned the applicant not to waste time and resources of the public authority, or else Central Information Commission shall not take cognisance of such appeal or complaint. Read more ›
In a significant decision Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that unless proved that record was destroyed as per the prescribed rules of destruction/ retention policy, it is deemed that record continues to be held by public authority. The decision has been posted at out wiki Segment, for those who want to use it as a reference. You can visit out wiki article here: Missing Files under RTI Act.
Claim of file missing or not traceable has no legality as it is not recognized as exception by RTI Act. By practice ‘missing file’ cannot be read into as exception in addition to exceptions prescribed by RTI Act. It amounts to breach of Public Records Act, 1993 and punishable with imprisonment up to a term of five years or with fine or both.
Public Authority has a duty to initiate action for this kind of loss of public record, in the form of ‘not traceable’ or ‘missing’. The Public Authority also has a duty to designate an officer as Records Officer and protect the records. A thorough search for the file, inquiry to find out public servant responsible, disciplinary action and action under Public Records Act, reconstruction of alternative file, relief to the person affected by the loss of file are the basic actions the Public Authority is legitimately expected to perform. Read more ›