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Composite Petitions


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Priya De

@Sunil Ahya

The order did seem to be strange. But even the High court seems to agree with the contention.

 

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Having noted the position of law as laid down by the Supreme Court, it is clear that Sections 18 and 19 serve two different purposes; lays down two different procedures; and provide two different remedies. Commission feels that the composite petitions of such nature are not legally tenable, simply because, if the penal action & disciplinary action are allowed on such composite petition, the incorporation of Section 20(1) & 20(2) of the RTI Act 2005 would be rendered as redundant and meaningless.

So, it is for the petitioner to file a complaint under Section 18 and appeal under Section 19 incorporating the prayers as referred to above separately and distinctly. If such a complaint and appeal are filed the same shall be considered by the CIC in accordance with law.

 

 

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Prasad GLN

All the above decisions are from only one IC and only Hon.Karira can speak about those decisions.  It is not clear as to whether such appeals/complaints can be dismissed because they are composite in nature, when an appellant has all such rights as per RTI and praying for such reliefs.  Experts only should guide on such validity of composite petitions.

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Shrawan

Thank You. It has been updated in the wiki

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Sunil Ahya

Completely bizarre, skewed, illogical and freshly invented definition called "composite petition".

 

From what I understand the decision states to mean that one cannot pray for 'information', 'compensation' and 'penalty' in one appeal. If one does so it becomes a 'composite petition' and as such it is legally not tenable, what a bizare interpretation.

 

Furthermore, one cannot pray for penalty in an application u/s. 19(3) at all ! If one wants to pray for penalty he needs to file a complaint u/s. 18(1). So basically file separate appeals and separate complaints for seeking information and penalty.

 

Even if the contention of the Commissioner were to be accepted, then too he could have ignored the penal prayers in an appeal u/s. 19(3) and proceeded towards the merits of the information sought in the light of section 8 & 9.

 

Also, it is not mandatory for an appellant to participate in a hearing proceedings, if the appellant is present, well and good as he can better present his case, however, if he is absent then the case has to be decided on the merits of the written queries and arguments.

 

A 'bad in law' decision of the Commission!

 

The High Court has partially set it right, by correcting the composite part of the bad in law decision of the Commission, however, a further new bad in law interpretation with respect to not being able to pray for penalties u/s. 19(3) and thereby filing separate appeals and complaints, in the same matter and at the same time, for obtaining information as well as seeking penalties.

 

So, now every time one may wish to pray for information and penalty, file both, an appeal and a complaint separately, but together and at the same time !

 

As per the definition of section 20(1), if the PIO has malafidely not provided information, he shall be penalized, why does an appellant even need to pray for it ? irrespective of whether an appeal u/s. 19(3) or a complaint u/s. 18(1).

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Sunil Ahya
53 minutes ago, Priya De said:

@Sunil Ahya

The order did seem to be strange. But even the High court seems to agree with the contention.

 

 

 

It is important to note that, the High Court has not agreed with the Commission, in the sense that a composite petition cannot be rejected merely on the ground that it is composite given that the appellant cum complainant has been asked to refile the matter and the Commission has been asked to condone the limitation period, a reasonable inference would be that in such cases the appellant cum complainant be asked to separate out the issues, separate out the remedies and thereby file a separate appeal and a separate complainant seeking separate remedies !!

 

However, the High Court has erred in not recognizing that, with standing provision of section 20(1) if the PIO has malafidely not provided information, he shall be penalized, and it need not be prayed for separately ! The RTI Act does not lay down that a PIO shall be penalized only if prayed for by an Appellant / Complainant, or for that matter a compensation shall be provided for only if an Appellant / Complainant has sought for it! May be it was not argued well by the Petitioner!

 

Nevertheless, this composite aspect is a completely new invention and a misinterpretation of statute which the Hon'ble HC should have avoided laying down.

 

Hope the Commissions do not make this as a point of making an Appellant / Complainant wait for his turn over a period of time and then when it is listed for a hearing to point out the defects to be cured. If one has to be so particular what is being prayed for then the registry of a Commission should ask the Appellant / Complainant to cure the defects right at the time of filing or alternately the Commission has to ignore the additional prayers and proceed with the rest of the prayers.

 

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