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  1. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment : R.K. Jain Vs. Union of India JT 2013 (10) SC 430 The issue before the Court: The information requested was inspection of adverse confidential remarks against ‘integrity’ of a member of Tribunal and follow up actions taken on issue of integrity. Exemption was claimed on the basis of Section 8 (1) (j). The Court held that: Inter alia relying upon the ruling made in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande case, the information is exempted from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (j). read with section 11 of the RTI Act. Para 13”…. Under Section 11(1), if the information relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by the third party, and if the Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer intends to disclose any such information or record on a request made under the Act, in such case after written notice to the third party of the request, the Officer may disclose the information, if the third party agrees to such request or if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party.” Our analysis of the judgment: Section 11 (1) is quoted hereunder: SECTION 11: Third-party information: (1) “Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: Provided that except in the case of trade or commercial secrets protected by law, disclosure may be allowed if the public interest in disclosure outweighs in importance any possible harm or injury to the interests of such third party.” (emphasis supplied by us) The Supreme Court appears to have given an interpretation to Section 11 which does not appear to be justified by the words of the Act. Section 11 is not an exemption but only a procedural provision to safeguard the interests of the third party. The Court’s statement above implies that if third party objects to the disclosure of information, it can only be given if there is a larger public interest in disclosure. It may clearly be understood that denial of information in RTI Act can only be done under Section 8 or 9 as clearly mentioned in Section 7 (1). In Section 8 (1) the need to show a larger public interest arises only when an exemption under Section 8 (1) applies. The Act states that when a PIO ‘intends to disclose’ information regarding third party which third party has treated as confidential, he shall intimate the third party that he intends to disclose the information. The PIO can only decide to disclose the information if he comes to the conclusion that it is not exempt. The law states that ‘submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information’. The PIO can only deny information as per the provisions of the exemptions of Section 8 (1) or 9. The RTI Act does not give veto power to the third party, but provides it with an opportunity to raise his legitimate objections, and if the PIO is convinced that the information is exempt, he may change his earlier decision to disclose by denying the information as per the provision of Section 8 (1) or Section 9. In case the PIO does not agree that the information is exempt, he should decide to disclose the information and reject the third party’s objection. In such an event the concerned third party may prefer an Appeal against the decision of the PIO, as per the provisions of Section 11 (2) to 11 (4). These express provisions 11(2) to 11(4) make it clear that the third party is not rendered remediless, in cases where PIO disagrees with the third party’s objection in disclosure of information. Section 7 (1) of the RTI Act clearly states that denial of information can only be based on Section 8 or 9. Section 3 states that ‘Subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have the Right to Information.’ Thus the denial of any information can only be on the basis of the RTI Act where only Section 8 and 9 detail the information which can be denied. The Court has raised the procedure of Section 11 to that of an exemption of Section 8 (1). This judgement is an erroneous reading of Section 11. Information was denied, partly depending on Girish Deshpande judgement where there was no ratio decidendi, and a flawed interpretation of Section 11. It also does not address the earlier R. Rajagopal judgment. satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  2. Section 23: Bar of jurisdiction of courts No court shall entertain any suit, application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act and no such order shall be called in question otherwise than by way of an appeal under this Act.
  3. rtiindia

    RTI for Pension Benefits

    [caption id=attachment_102" align="alignright" width="186] How to get Pension benefit by using RTI[/caption] In one of the finest use of the Right to Information Act, on 08.06.2011 son came to know that his father who died in the year 2004, was already terminated from job 25 years earlier. It is surprising that the Father who was suspended in the year 1979, didn't knew for next 25 years that he was already terminated by his employer without informing him. When the Father died the son asked for releasing the retiral dues of their father in the form of Gratuity, suspension allowance and CPF. The said representation was decided by means of order dated 11.4.2012 and it was said that the son were not entitled for leave encashment, Gratuity and CPF. If the order would have been communicated to the father of the petitioners, then the same would have been put to challenge by him during that time itself. The court stated that "It appears that the said order was never supplied to the father of the petitioners and in absence of which, the same could not be challenged. The impugned order, which has been supplied to the petitioners under the Right to Information Act, also does not indicate that this order is an original order, which was passed against the father of the petitioners. The said order is in the form of information and in absence of any original order on record, it has to be presumed that principles of natural justice were violated and they were not followed and the termination order was passed against the father of the petitioners." RTI for Pension Benefits The Court stated that "On the face of it, the record reveals that service of the father of the petitioners were terminated in utter defiance of the principles of natural justice. The termination order, therefore, is illegal and cannot be sustained in law." The Court decided in favor of son and ordered release of Pension Benefit and in absence of any documents with the opposite parties, who are custodian of the record, an adverse inference was drawn against them too. The court therefore decided that "Writ petition is accordingly allowed and the orders dated 8.6.2011 and 31.12.1981 are hereby quashed. Opposite parties are directed to release the suspension allowance of the father of the petitioner up till 31.12.1981 and after 31.12.1981 the petitioner would be entitled to 25% of the back wages upto 1998, i,e, the date of retirement of the father of the petitioner." Had the RTI Act not into place, do you think son would have ever got to know that his Expired Father was removed from service without holding any enquiry or informing him that he has been removed? The order for 'RTI for Pension' can be downloaded from our main Portal rtiindia.org from here! If you want to use RTI for Pension benefit, please post your query here in our discussion forum. You can also read the discussion thread here about Family Pension and how to write RTI for Pension Benefits.
  4. rtiindia

    RTI for Private School

    [caption id=" align="alignright" width="239] Private school comes under RTI[/caption] That's a good news for all. Private Schools under Delhi has been decided by Hight Court to come under RTI. It's been a translucent world of Private schools for parents seeking admission for their kids in Delhi school. Nobody knows how one is rejected and how some other kid is selected. The parents fight with school administration, post frantically on websites only to get frustrated on not getting any cue ever. Those who are destined to get admission, get them and they become a silent spectator of whole 'Ghotala'. But not anymore! With RTI for Private School in Delhi, things will change and change for good. Hon'ble Justice Rajiv Shakdher on Thursday dismissed the challenge by a federation of schools to Central Information Commission (CIC) order asking them to ensure that information regarding admission is made public. HC upheld the order asking schools to display information on total number of seats in a school, total vacancies in all classes, total seats under EWS quota, seats available under the quota, total applications received under the quota, information about when EWS quota applications will be received and date on which the admissions will take place. They have been asked to update the information on a weekly basis. HC also directed the education director to ensure compliance of the court's directions. The schools however, did get limited relief from the court which agreed to their plea and exempted them from making public budget estimates of receipts, payments of the ensuing year, final accounts and the statement showing disbursement of salaries. The detail of the decision is available here at our main portal Do you think it shall make school admission transparent? Please post your views.
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