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Information in public domian



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Prasad GLN

No. It is not so, CIC has ruled denial of information on such grounds and you may go for first appeal and specific certified copies and updates are usual differences with website information. (Not aluthentic)

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In the case of RoC Vs Dharmendra Kumar Garg, the Hon'be Delhi High Court held that once an information is placed in public domain it is not held by the public authority in exclusion but opened to the public and it is for the public to access such information. Therefore, information already uploaded in website are accessible to citizens and not exclusively held by the public authority.


However, what is available is soft copy. An applicant has a right to seek information in other FORMS which include certified hard copy of the information. Seeking certified copy is one of the rights available to the applicant and when a citizen exercises such a right, the PIO cannot deny it on the ground that a soft copy is uploaded on website.


Therefore information already available on website cannot be a ground for denial of information, if the applicant sought certified copy. If certified copy is denied, applicant may prefer First Appeal before the First Appellate Authority, within 30 days from the date of receipt of PIO's reply - by referring :>> HOW TO FILE FIRST APPEAL UNDER RTI

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Just redirecting applicant to a website is against RTI Act for following reasons:


2. It is against following decisions of CIC:


CIC/WB/A/2010/000167SM dated 03-06-2011

CIC/SG/A/2011/001755 dated 25-07-2011

CIC/SM/A/2011/001466/SG/15161 dated 12-10-2011

CIC/SG/A/2011/002686/16186 dated 08-12-2011


3. Information hosted on the website has no authenticity, as information is liable for hacking or unauthorized changes.


4. Information on website has no evidentiary value in courts or tribunals.


5. Information on website can be removed and it may become difficult for information seeker to prove it later on.


6. Websites are not updated regularly by most of public authorities.


7. CPIOs normally do not mention exact link in website or URL He expects information seeker to roam into entire website and locate required information. At times exact information may not be available on website.


8. As on 2011-end internet penetration was only 10.2% in India. Hence reference to website excludes nearly 90% of population if website is to be accessed. Poor and unconnected citizens are marginalized by such decisions.


9. Majority of websites is in English and hence applicants not conversant with English are rendered helpless.


10. Factually, by redirecting to website, CPIO does not provide information but informs only its location.


11. It would have been prudent and reasonable on part of Ld. IC to order CPIO to get print outs from website and supply them duly authenticated.


12. Information accessed from website, will be of no use to appellant if he were to present it in Courts or Tribunals or govt. offices

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RoC judgment was delivered on 01/06/2012. CIC decisions delivered prior to that cannot be taken as precedents.

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