Delhi Government 38 Departments are allowing Ping Pong with RTI Applications, claims the RTI Applicant. A senior Citizen RTI Application asking for handicapped pension for his wife was transferred to 29 Public Information Officers (PIOs). Among those authorities, some of them transferred the application to each other. The issue is in fact, multiple transfers of the RTI application from CM office to a number of PIOs, spending huge amount of money on the correspondence and yielding nothing.
Can Govt spend public money on such purposeless transfers? There appears to be a serious governance crisis as the appellant and the citizens similarly placed, are not getting any information under the RTI Act from Delhi Government, noted CIC.
Applicant stated that “When the question was nonpayment of pension, it is supposed to be decided by the office of the CM, and it cannot simply shirk its responsibility by transferring the RTI application to the MCD”. Read more ›
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 ›