Can a citizen who is an ineligible candidate and had agitated his grievance before Hon’ble Minister and the CAT but failed to get any relief is disqualified from getting information under RTI? The answer is NO. Can CPIO introduce new reasons for Denial of Information under RTI? Guess what! The CPIO thinks so, but thankfully not the CIC.
Once an applicant seeks information as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the same cannot be denied to the information seeker except on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 8 or 9 of the RTI Act, the Public Information Officer or the First Appellate Authority cannot add or introduce new reasons for Denial or grounds for rejecting furnishing of information.
An RTI Applicant who is officiating SDI(P) East Gurgaon and a qualified Postmaster Grade-1 have taken the promotional Departmental exam of IPO-2011 on 15 and 16 October 2011 and reexamination for Paper-III on 29/01/2012 from Haryana Circle, Ambala. He wanted following information related to this:
1- No. of marks obtained by me in each paper.
2- OMR Copy of answer sheets of each papers with key.
In nutshell he had appeared in a departmental examination and needed copies of his answer sheets and the marks obtained by him in each of the papers. The CPIO denied the information stating that the he is an ineligible candidate and had agitated his grievance before Hon’ble Minister and the CAT but failed to get any relief.
Introduce new reasons for Denial
When the matter came before CIC for hearing, a simple query from the Commission under which clause of the RTI Act exemption is being claimed for denying the information the CPIO could not give any satisfactory response.
The Commission stated that:
The appellant is seeking his own answer sheets and the marks obtained by him in a departmental examination in which he had participated. The CPIO is unable to show any exemption under the stated provisions of Section 8 or 9 of the RTI Act under which the information can be withheld. It being so, there is no ground for denying the information and the CPIO should furnish the same to the appellant within 7 days from the date of receipt of this order.
Here are the discussion threads at Forum containing the information about Denial of Information and you can read into many such discussion how CPIO sometimes introduce new reasons for Denial.