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Centre gives babus right to rejection

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Centre gives babus right to rejection


AS reported by Vineeta Pandey, DNA India, Friday, July 11, 2008


Ministry of public grievances tells bureaucrats to turn down wrongly addressed RTI pleas


NEW DELHI: The next time you file a right-to-information (RTI) application, do not be surprised if it is turned down with the babu line "not our jurisdiction".


Providing an escape route to bureaucrats facing a fusillade of pleas seeking information under the RTI Act, the ministry of public grievances has told its employees not to dig too deep but turn down applications that do not directly concern them.


Interpreting the Act in its own way, it told all departments, ministries and organisations in a recent communiqué that if an information sought is scattered and involves more than one public authority, the public information officer (PIO) should tell the applicant to file separate applications to other departments/organisations concerned after releasing information pertaining his/her office.


Drawing attention to section 6(3) of the Act, the ministry has concluded that if the receiver of a query thinks there is more than one relevant public authority involved, he or she is under no obligation to transfer the query or gather information.


"Collection of information, parts of which are available with different public authorities, would amount to creation of information which a public authority under the RTI Act is not required to do," the communiqué reads.

The circular is a clear departure from the present RTI Act practice where PIOs are expected to route an application to the right authority if it is wrongly addressed. But now, there won't be any such obligation.


RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal is livid and plans to move court in case the circular is not withdrawn. "Governance is a complex matter and many people file RTI applications to wrong addresses. The onus is on public servants to help an application reach its destination. If they don't withdraw this order, we will challenge it in court," he said.




DNA - India - Centre gives babus right to rejection - Daily News & Analysis



download the circular here


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