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  1. Central Information Commission gave a title to the decision in which CPIO steadfast fought against the disgruntled employee, who blatantly misused RTI, subverted process of law with malicious intentions as Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI and directed the Public Authority to place this order in their official website under the heading ‘Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI’ in their RTI Section. (If you want to file an RTI , please go to our guide to file RTI online) Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi posted as a Principal & APIO in the Govt. Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya Chirag Enclave, New Delhi submitted to CIC that he is aggrieved with repeated RTI applications filed by Shri Ranjan Sharma (RTI Applicant) and the order passed by the Appellate Authority who allowed inspection of records and directed to provide the documents, free of cost. As the First Appellate Authority has no power to review its order once passed and communicated. CPIO being aggrieved with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, have approached Commission under Section 19 (3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. For any RTI help, head straight to our forum and post your query. Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI He stated that RTI Applicant, Shri Ranjan Sharma has been charge sheeted under Rule 14 of CCS(CCA) Rules, 1965 and he Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi (Appellant) was appointed as Inquiry Officer in the matter by the Department. Since the initiation of enquiry, a number of RTI applications have been filed seeking unrelated information which does not warrant any public interest in any way as the sole motive behind filing these RTI applications was just to harass him. The Commission on perusal of the documents on record and after hearing the Appellant was of the opinion that this was a clear case of harassing a sincere officer by Shri Ranjan Sharma though filing frivolous RTI applications against Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi for being an Inquiry Officer in the disciplinary case against Shri Ranjan Sharma. The commission noted that the RTI Applicant had adopted a stratagem of contrivance to delay the disciplinary proceedings and even went to the extent of threatening civil and criminal action against the inquiry officer. Sanjay Chaturvedi Vs Ranjan Sharma Citation number: CIC/AD/A/2013/001721­SA dated 4.7.2014 (This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must read and download the decision from the CIC website. If you have any query, kindly post it over our website here!)
  2. The commission came heavily on the RTI applicant who wrote “cheated by SBI” above his name and signatures. If such behavior continues on the part of the appellant, the Commission will have no option but to take action as per the law of the land. The appellant is advised to refrain from the use of such language in his communications in future. The Public authority stated during the hearing that the appellant was in the habit of writing unpalatable words like “cheated by the SBI” and using unparliamentary language in his RTI applications including in the present one in which he had mentioned “cheated by SBI” above his name and signatures. Unparliamentary language The Commission recorded that ",, constrained to note that the appellant took recourse to using highly unparliamentary language during the hearing." The decision can be downloaded from here- CIC-MP-A-2015-002104. If you have queries in reference to Right to Information, go to our forum!
  3. After filing 30 applications on the same subject with different names but with the same handwriting, Central Information Commission came heavily by warning to desist from misusing the provisions of the RTI Act for settling his personal scores with the respondent. CIC further stated that "In case the appellant continues to prefer RTI applications which are vexatious and frivolous in nature with a view to disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority, then the PIO will be free to deny information under the provisions of section 7 (9) of the Act." It is certain that this variety of the vexatious and frivolous petitions is not going to serve the interest of the Right to Information ⎯ the self-serving, pious protestations of serial petitioners such as this one notwithstanding. NDMC, the Respondent informed that appellant who has filed at least 30 RTI applications in different names with similar queries, having the same handwriting regarding pending payment of M/s Gyan Const Co. against work done by the agency. Vexatious and frivolous RTI are ground of denial The Commission emphasised that though the Respondents are duty-bound to supply information asked for by the Appellants, the Appellants are also required to keep in mind the objectives of the RTI Act as outlined in the Preamble to the Act: and that is, to introduce the elements of transparency and accountability in the functioning of the public authorities and to contain corruption. The citation is available here: Sh. R.K. Chauhan & Sh. N. Singh Vs NDMC Some of the similar decisions posted at our Case segments are as below: Probe into the motive behind repeated RTI No Right to Repeat: Citizen has right to information only once- Rules CIC What are your views? Does this practice of refusing RTI on grounds of repetition justified? You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website!
  4. Continuing their earlier decision of 'No Right to Repeat', now Central Information commission has gone a step ahead and directed to seek a probe by an appropriate authority into the motive behind the RTI applicant repeated RTI questions in such a reckless manner. This probe is intended for Public Authority to know whether repeated questions are guided by public interest or private interest! If you want to file RTI Online, please read our guide on filing RTI online here. You can download our sample RTI forms here! The Commission considered this case as the case of repetitive use of RTI assuming the proportion of harassment to the Public Authority and reckless abuse of RTI. Probe into the motive behind repeated RTI The appellant Mr. Nitesh Kumar Tripathi has filed the above 13 RTI applications against different Hospitals controlled by the same Public Authority, i.e. Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi. The Commission observes that the RTI questions asked by the appellant are wide­ ranging; require lot of effort on the part of the Public Authority to collect documents. Almost all of his RTI applications are the Photostat copies containing the same questions. It is a reckless way of seeking information which nobody knows whether the same is supported by any public interest. The appellant has cultivated a habit of sending Photostat copies in a format which were given as RTI Applications, sometimes, even without filling the blanks. He does not attend, appear for inspection, appear before the First Appellate Authority or the Commission. In response to this second appeal, 13 doctors attended the hearing. The Doctors represented that their precious time needed to be used for patients, an emergency medical case is being spent on such needless, non­ serious questions, without any purpose. They appealed to the Commission to prevent such misuse of RTI Act by people like the appellant in this case. The information furnished by the respondent authorities is relevant, since his appeals do not disclose why he was not satisfied. Hence all the above 13 appeals/complaints were dismissed by CIC. The commission retreated that: Even a single repetition of RTI application would demand the valuable time of the public authority, first appellate authority and if it also reaches second appeal, that of the Commission, which time could have been spent to hear another appeal or answer another application or perform other public duty. Every repetition of RTI application which was earlier responded will be an obstruction to flow of information and defeats the purpose of the RTI Act. The entire information about the repeated RTI questions by appellants, and the documents given by the Public authority, the private interest of the appellants, if any, lack of public interest in the said RTI applications, etc. also shall be kept in the public domain. You can read the earlier decision regarding 'No Right to Repeat' from our case-law segment. Citation: A case of misuse of RTI by Shri Nitesh Kumar Tripathi V/s (1) Dte of Health Services (2) Health & Family Welfare (3) Hed Arogya Sansthan (4) GTB Hospital (5) DDU Hospital (6) Baba Sah. Ambedkar Hosp (7) GB Pant Hospital (8) DD MAS Chikitsalaya (9) CN Bala Chikitsalaya (10)Acharya Bhikshu Hosp. Asaf Ali Hospital Singh Hos. You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website or from here!
  5. [caption id=attachment_2671" align="alignright" width="424] harassment of victims of crime through RTI[/caption] Central Information Commission had to intervene in a serious case where a murder accused tried to use RTI to obtain school details of son of murdered victim. However, by the time CIC could pass and prevent disclosure, the school had not minded the security issue of the child of murdered victim and had already disclosed part of the information. CIC recorded that "They should have not given any information to the accused RTI applicant and Commission directs no further disclosure of any information in this case." The questions that were sought under the RTI application were in no way helpful to accused in a murder case. Seeking school details of son of murdered victim posed a serious security threat to the school going boy. The Commission directed the school authorities not to create security problems to the boy by giving information which can be denied u/s 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act. CIC observed that "This is a case of misuse of RTI by the accused to harass the son of victim of murder. The Commission strongly recommends the Govt. of India to take necessary steps to prevent harassment of victims of crime by accused of that crime through the RTI channel, the objective of which is not to be a tool in the hands of accused. The appeal is rejected." At our forum our members have listed many such cases of Misuse of RTI, please visit the link to read them. Case of misuse of RTI The appellant filed RTI application whereby he sought information as to one student who was lodged in St. Johns Boys Home, with regard to T.C issue by school etc. PIO replied but being unsatisfied with the reply the appellant preferred First Appeal. Having received no reply within the prescribed period, the appellant sh. Ram Avtar approached the commission in Second Appeal. During the hearing, the St.John Co­Ed Sec. School representative submitted that sh. Ram Avtar is an accused in a murder case and Rahul about whom the Appellant is seeking the information is the son of the victim. Information regarding the hostel is not available as the same is maintained by a different society. However, the information available with the school has been furnished. Prevent harassment of victims of crime through RTI The Commission took a serious note that Respondent Public Authority does not mind the security issue and ignored section 8(1)(g). They should have not given any information to the accused appellant and Commission directs no further disclosure of any information in this case. CIC further recorded that "This is a case of misuse of RTI by the accused to harass the son of victim of murder. The Commission strongly recommends the Govt. of India to take necessary steps to prevent harassment of victims of crime by accused of that crime through the RTI channel, the objective of which is not to be a tool in the hands of accused. The appeal is rejected." (The content of the article is purely taken from the decision published by CIC on its website which is accessible to all) The case is available here! If you have any questions about RTI, go to our forum here and post. If you would like to add something to this story, please post it in the comments below.
  6. As reported at zeenews.india.com on January 20, 2012 Chennai: Citing mounting pendency of cases involving RTI appeals and disputes due to manpower shortage, the Central Information Commission has requested the Centre to appoint more Information Commissioners, a top official said on Friday. "We have requested the Government of India to appoint more Information Commissioners. We are also trying to evolve methods by which we can increase the number of disposals," Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra told reporters here on the sidelines of a workshop on RTI Act. Five posts of Information Commissioners were still vacant and "we need much more manpower", he said. The CIC was having only 160 employees, and it was "not a adequate, sufficient number," he said, adding due to this cases were taking eight to 10 months to come up, against ideal time of three months. "If it is more than three months, in our opinion, it is pointless." He said every month CIC was receiving over 2,300 cases, while it was clearing only 1,800, resulting in backlog. Mishra said over 23,000 cases were pending with the CIC alone besides those before various state information commissions. He also said the CIC had started posting details about the number of pending cases at the end of every month on its website. "We have already started. Other Commissioners will also be doing so." Clearing concerns that the RTI Act was being misused, he said, "My personal experience in the last three years in the Central Information Commission is that the instances of misuse of RTI act is absolutely infinitely small.. There were overwhelmingly large number of cases with genuine reasons."
  7. Atul Patankar

    Right to irritation?

    As posted by Alifiya Khan at mid-day.com on 03 February 2010 Officials upset that replying to 'frivolous queries' posed through RTI applications takes up 10 per cent of their working hours Come Monday evening and the Water Works Department (WWD) of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) halts all business on the day so it can give undivided attention to activists who come to seek information on the civic body's functioning. Other departments of the PMC have been similarly occupied since Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Zagade issued a circular a few weeks ago making it compulsory for all departments to devote Monday evenings to this task. Info without RTI While Zagade didn't respond despite several calls, Sanjay More, the PMC public information officer, said the initiative was aimed at helping citizens with information without the need for an RTI application. "The circular puts into effect a direct and time saving way of responding to queries for information as people can see whatever records they want. Replying to formal RTI applications is a more cumbersome and time-consuming process," explained More. MiD DAY investigated the RTI process in the civic body, district collectorate and other government offices and found that at least two of 20 working days of a government officer are spent in replying to RTI applications. The PMC received a whopping 6,783 RTI applications last year, more than a 100 applications per department annually. The least RTI applications that a PMC department received last month were eight. The maximum applications received were 45. Danger of misuse Dr R R Pardeshi, acting medical health officer, PMC, whose department receives at least 30 RTI applications in a month, said the RTI Act was a great weapon that uncovered many shortcomings in governance, but it was also susceptible to misuse. He said, "It's a double-edged sword. Often we spend considerable time replying to applications that are silly and have no relevance." Another complaint that officers have is that replying to RTI applications gets difficult because of staff crunch. "Replying to an RTI isn't simple. We have to go through years of records. When people aren't satisfied, they file repeated RTI applications. New staffers weren't appointed when the Act came into force and it is proving difficult to tackle this extra job with the existing staff," said Pramod Nirbhavne, PMC water department chief. Uttam Chavan, planning officer, district collector, whose department replies to at least 10 RTIs a month said that another problem was that people appeal against information officers if RTIs are carelessly replied to. "This creates fear too," he said. Source: Right to irritation?
  8. Apparantly, some government offices have stopped giving information they earlier used to routinely give across the counter or on the phone within a few minutes. Those requesting the information are now asked to file an RTI application. Clarification: information of certain kind ("that can be found in a single register/file") continues to be given. 1. Is this right? Is it what RTI supposed to lead to? 2. Is this an example of a criticism of RTI Act I had come across soon after its inception, that "RTI will help a handful of educated and aggressive people at the expense of the illiterate and submissive masses". 3. Can this denial of information through channels other than RTI be complained about? To whom? Or would it require resolution through the offices of elected representatives (a.k.a politicians)? Can the judiciary be approached on it in the hope of a more general ruling? 4. Can it be called a misuse of the RTI Act? No, I suppose. The reason given is that the clerks who were assigned that duty have now been given RTI related tasks. There might be some truth in it because these offices have greatly improved the quality of procedure related information given on their notice boards (become proactive!) and only the illiterate need to approach the information counter. Besides, information is regularly updated. 5. Is this an example of positive impact of RTI? Yes, I suppose. Thanks and regards.
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