Heavens do not fall if there is no immediate imposition of penalty- CIC

heaven do not fallAfter his son not getting good marks in the MBBS exam, father filed RTI to obtain copy of question paper and answer keys and disclosure of marks from the University. RTI Applicant stated that supply of the documents after completion of the admission process would be embarrassing, humiliating and prejudice to the life and liberty of his son, therefore if he is given a speedy access to the said documents, then his ranking is likely to move­ up. However, Central Information Commission did not agree to this and recorded that “Complainant has failed to prove how the non­ disclosure of information affects the life and liberty of his son. (If you want to file RTI Online, do read our guide on how to file RTI online here) His son getting poor marks and his son’s belief in having done well in Botany and Zoology is not good enough to invoke the ‘life and liberty’ clause. It is not proper and correct to treat every application for disclosure of marks sheet or key etc, as life and liberty related application. Hence that plea was rejected by CIC.

Urgency Clause

On the issue of urgency clause, CIC stated that if the disclosure as sought reveals increase in marks of appellant’s son, and admissions get closed, he might lose one year which could be irreparable. This is the only ground on which the urgency plea could be accepted and priority in hearing could be granted. But, because the appellant sought compensation of Rs 5 lac and penalty be imposed on the public authority, CIC observed that there is no justification for hearing it on priority.

Immediate imposition of penalty

The Commission further observed that if complainant wanted to treat this complaint as complaint only, there is no need for urgent hearing because, heavens do not fall if there is no immediate imposition of penalty and grant of compensation which can wait for the other side to present their case. Thus CIC finds that there is no urgency in the complaint and directs the matter to be listed for hearing as per its turn.

Statutory rules prescribed by any Public Authority do not get overridden by the provisions of the RTI Act

The RTI application also raised the following issue before the commission “Whether the University or for that matter any Public Authority has to supply the documents as per the fees prescribed under the RTI Act when the Complainant/Appellant seeks information under RTI Act or according to the fees prescribed by the Public Authority.” In case Sh. Deepak Agnihotri Vs. State Bank of India F. no. CIC/SM/A/2009/001883­AT, by the Information Commissioner Shri A.N. Tiwari:

In my understanding it would be entirely fallacious to hold that because of the presence of the RTI Act and the Rules , public authorities are completely barred from fixing the charges at which they would try to sell or disclose information. RTI Act enjoins that Public Authority could progressively bring more and more information into the public domain and authorize their disclosure. RTI Act, does not , at any place, say that such public authorities would be barred from placing any fee or price or a charge on the disclosure of the information brought by them into the public domain.

In Registrar of Companies & Ors. versus Dharmendra Kumar Garg & Ors. in WP (C) No. 11271/2009, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court discussed in his decision dated 01.06.2012 as follows:

The said rules being statutory in nature and specific in their application, do not get overridden by the rules framed under the RTI Act with regard to prescription of fee for supply of information, which is general in nature, and apply to all kinds of applications made under the RTI Act to seek information.

Therefore, commission decided that the statutory rules prescribed by any Public Authority do not get overridden by the provisions of the RTI Act and accordingly dismisses the instant Appeal while upholding the CPIO and AA’s decision. The Appellant was advised to pay the charges laid down for verification of details of PNR and obtain the information which may be provided by the PIO. Citation: CIC/SA/C/2014/000268 dated 07.07.2014 Dr. Jeet Singh Mann Vs Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

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Posted in RTI Act 2005
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