[caption id=attachment_131" align="alignright" width="300] Right to Information Application form- can you ask why?[/caption]
In Right to Information Application form, Information is being denied by Government under RTI Act because the applicant has asked reasons. Application asking why what is generally refused by Public authority. Therefore, it has been advised that an applicant refrain from drafting RTI Application having why and What under RTI. For example a query under RTI such has
Why was the decision taken to cancel the tender?
The above question shall be refused by the Public Authority resorting to provision of RTI Act that such information cannot be provided. Therefore, it has been advised by most of the activist and guides that the query be framed like this:
Please provide me the documents on which the decision was taken to cancel the tender.
However, it is very clear from the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, that information held by the Public Authority in material form has to be provided to the information seeker, unless such information is denied under one of the exemption provisions of the RTI Act. Section 2 of the RTI Act defines the form of the information that can be accessed by citizen of India. Simply because the Right to Information Application form has prefixed query with why and what does not debar him for receiving information if that is a part of the record held by the Public Authority.
Therefore in the above example, if the reasons as to why the tender was cancelled has been recorded in the file or is held in any form by the Government, it shall be provided under the Right to Information Act 2005. This stand has been substantiated by CIC in one of the decision where the information was denied as the respondent nature of queries of RTI application were in the nature of queries prefixing why and what and was not replied to stating that since such queries do not come within the ambit of section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the information cannot be provided.
Right to Information Application form- CIC stand on 'Why' and 'What'!
The commission has stated in the above hearing that "Simply because the appellant has prefixed his query with why and what does not debar him for receiving information, which is admittedly a part of the record held by the respondent. The Commission therefore directs the CPIO to provide the action taken on appellant’s RTI application for issue of non-official photo pass as well as the reasons for rejection of application, as per record. " The decision can be downloaded from here!