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  • The Central Information Commission has allowed disclosure of file notings on the mercy petition of a rape and murder convict, rejecting the government's contention that the records cannot be disclosed as these are privileged documents under Article 74(2) of the Constitution.
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  • Don't pay 500/- for answer sheet now- Supreme Court says if Answer sheet is asked under RTI, RTI Fees will be governed

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  1. 2 points
    If a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, then payment has to be sought under the RTI Rules. The question before the Supreme Court was which Guidelines/Rules will govern the prescription of fee for copies of answer sheets and their inspection. The Court held that while the ICSI is governed by the Companies Secretaries Act, 1980 and the Examination Committee formed under the statute prescribes a certain fee, the RTI Rules also lay down a fee structure for procurement of answer sheets. The Court held, “In our opinion, the existence of these two avenues is not mutually exclusive and it is up to the candidate to choose either of the routes. Thus, if a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information, then payment has to be sought under the Rules therein, however, if the information is sought under the Guidelines of the appellant, then the appellant is at liberty to charge the candidates as per its guidelines.” The decision was rendered by a Bench of Justices NV Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer, which made it clear that if there are other avenues to procure answer sheets, the applicant can choose which one to route her request through. The RTI Rules entitle a student to seek inspection and certified copies of their answer scripts. When this right is exercised, Rule 4 will govern the levy of the required charges. This Rule stipulates a fee of Rs. 2 for each page of the answer script. For inspection, no fee is prescribed for the first hour. For every subsequent hour of inspection, the fee is Rs. 5 per hour. The order came in an appeal filed by the Institute of Companies Secretaries of India (ICSI) against a decision of a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. The respondent, Advocate Paras Jain, had sought from ICSI certified copies of answer sheets and their inspection under RTI. He was charged a fee for the same as per Guideline No. 3 notified by the Statutory Council of the ICSI. As per the ICSI Guidelines, the fee for the supply of certified copies was Rs. 500 per answer sheet, and the charge for inspection was Rs. 450 per answer book. Download the decision here.15222_2014_Order_11-Apr-2019.pdf
  2. 1 point
    Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava relied on several noted judgments of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to reject the contentions of the ministry. Mother of Pradeep Yeshwanth Kokde, who is on death row in Yerwada jail in Pune, had approached the Union Home Ministry seeking copies of file notings made in relation to the mercy petition filed by him under the Right to Information. The Central Information Commission has allowed disclosure of file notings on the mercy petition of a rape and murder convict, rejecting the government's contention that the records cannot be disclosed as these are privileged documents under Article 74(2) of the Constitution. The Home Ministry denied the information citing Article 74(2) of the Constitution which protects from disclosure the advice tendered by the Council of Ministers to the President as it is privileged communication. The applicant argued before the Commission, highest adjudicating body onI matters, that the Article protects only the advice tendered by the Council of Ministers and that the information sought by her does not pertain to the ministerial advice. The ministry said that the recommendations along with all documents which lead to the formation of ministerial advice to the President of India are privileged under Article 74 (2) of the Constitution and cannot be disclosed under theI Act. These documents are an integral part of the government decision-making process and cannot be isolated from the ambit of “advice to the President”, the Home Ministry contended. The ministry cited a Delhi High Court order which had set aside an order of the Commission directing disclosure of information relating to the 2002 correspondence between the then President of India and the then Prime Minister relating to Gujarat riots. Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava relied on several noted judgments of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to reject the contentions of the ministry. The Commission, however, asked the ministry to sever all the names and other references from the files which could reveal the identity of public officials involved in the decision-making process. Kokde has been convicted for hatching a criminal conspiracy, abducting, raping and killing a BPO employee working at Hinjewadi, Pune on November 1, 2007.
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