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Madras HC hauls up TNSIC for "unreasoned" orders - says it is shocking


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Madras High Court

S.Seeniraj vs The Assistant Registrar on 10 February, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

 

DATED 10.02.2015

 

CORAM

 

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE T.S.SIVAGNANAM

 

WP.No.17862/2013

 

S.Seeniraj .. Petitioner

 

 

Versus

 

 

1.The Assistant Registrar,

State Information Commission

No.2, Theagaraja Salai,

Teynampet, Chennai-18.

 

2.The District Chief Educational Officer

O/o.The District Chief Educational Officer

Virudhunagar District.

 

3.Mr.P.Kalaichelvan

Public Information Officer cum

Headmaster, Nadaar Magamai Higher

Secondary School, Ellayirampannai

Sattur Taluk, Virudhunagar District 626201. .. Respondents

 

Writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for a writ of certiorarified mandamus calling for the records of the impugned order passed by the 1st respondent in Order No.52758/C/2012 dated 26.03.2013 and quash the same as illegal and consequently direct the 3rd respondent to provide the information sought by the petitioner in his petition dated 12.07.2012 under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

 

For Petitioner : Mr.M.Purushothaman

For R1 : Mr.Niranjan Rajagopalan

For R2 : Mrs.P.Rajalakshmi, GA

For R3 : Mr.S.Kamadevan

 

ORDER

 

Heard Mr.M.Purushothaman, learned counsel for the petitioner ; Mr.Niranjan Rajagopalan, learned counsel appearing for the 1st respondent ; Mrs.P.Rajalakshmi, learned Government Advocate appearing for the 2nd respondent and Mr.S.Kamadevan, learned counsel for the 3rd respondent/School and perused the material available on record including the counter affidavit filed by the 3rd respondent.

 

2.The petitioner has filed this writ petition seeking a writ of certiorarified mandamus to quash the order passed by the 1st respondent dated 26.03.2013 and to direct the 3rd respondent to provide information as sought for by the petitioner dated 12.07.2012.

 

3.The petitioner's son was a student of the 3rd respondent/School and the petitioner has sought for furnishing copies of the answer scripts of his son. The Headmaster of the 3rd respondent/School sent a reply to the petitioner on 19.07.2012 stating that he cannot furnish the information as sought for by the petitioner. Therefore, the petitioner filed a first appeal before the First Appellate Authority under the Act. The First Appellate Authority, also rejected the petitioner's prayer and the petitioner preferred a second appeal before the 1st respondent/Tamilnadu State Information Commission under section 19[3] of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The appeal was entertained by the Commission and notice was issued to the 3rd respondent/School dated 22.02.2013. At this stage of the matter, it is worthwhile to quote the relevant portion of the proceedings of the 1st respondent dated 22.02.2013, wherein the Commission was prima facie satisfied that the 3rd respondent/School is bound to furnish the information since the 3rd respondent/School is a Government Aided School. The relevant portion is extracted here under:-.......Fwpg;gpl;l gs;sp muR epjp cjtp bgWk; gs;sp vd;Wk;. mg;gs;sp ,r;rl;lj;jpd; fPH; tUtjhf ,t;thizak; gjpt[ bra;fpwJ....

 

4.Though such observation was made by the Commission in its order, ultimately, by the said order dated 26.03.2013, the Commission dismissed the petitioner's appeal. It is shocking to note that the Commission has not assigned any reason in the final order which was passed. In fact, in the said order, they have stated that the 3rd respondent/School is amenable to the provisions of the Act. But the Commission would state that on account of fiduciary relationship in terms of section 9[1][e], the information cannot be furnished. It is seen that the order has been passed without due enquiry. That apart, when the Commission was satisfied that the 3rd respondent/School was amenable to the provisions, then the 3rd respondent is bound to furnish information sought for by the petitioner. The petitioner would state that his son was put to irreparable mental agony on account of the attitude of the 3rd respondent/School and he has lost his valuable time of one year in his career.

 

5.In the counter affidavit filed by the 3rd respondent/School, a different stand has been taken stating that the answer scripts which were kept in the Manager's room, were removed in the last week of July 2012 and the Management did not expect the present situation and the continuation of the legal process and therefore, it is not possible to acceded to the petitioner's request as the said answer scripts are not with the 3rd respondent/School. Such a stand appears to have not been admitted before the Commission.

 

6.In any event, the petitioner's son having been a student of the 3rd respondent/School, the 3rd respondent/School being an Aided School, is amenable to the provisions of the Act. The information sought for has to be furnished. In fact, this issue has not been properly dealt with by the Commission. Further, the petitioner made a representation to the Commission and the Commission declined to look into the matter and dismissed the same by the impugned order dated 26.03.2013. The manner in which the petitioner's appeal has been dealt with is not in consonance with law. Therefore, this Court is inclined to interfere with the impugned order.

 

7.Accordingly, the writ petition is allowed and the impugned order passed by the 1st respondent dated 26.03.2013 is set aside. The matter is remanded back to the 1st respondent for fresh consideration. The 1st respondent shall issue notice to the petitioner as well as to the 3rd respondent/School and after hearing the parties, pass a detailed order on merits and in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

 

No costs.10.02.2015

 

NOTE:Issue order copy on 12.02.2015.AP

 

To

1.The Assistant Registrar, State Information Commission No.2, Theagaraja Salai, Teynampet, Chennai-18.

2.The District Chief Educational Officer O/o.The District Chief Educational Officer Virudhunagar District.

3.Mr.P.Kalaichelvan Public Information Officer cum Headmaster, Nadaar Magamai Higher Secondary School, Ellayirampannai Sattur Taluk, Virudhunagar District 626201.T.S.SIVAGNANAM, J., AP

 

 

WP.No.17862/2013 10.02.2015

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