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As reported by Santosh Tiwari at business-standard.com on September 25, 2011

 

Investigating and law enforcement agencies are concerned over the growing number of attempts to misuse Right to Information (RTI) to settle personal scores and animosities, and make personal gains.

 

A senior official from one of the investigating agencies told Business Standard that serious concerns were raised in several meetings convened by the government with the Income Tax Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and others in the recent past. “It has been pointed out that steps are needed to balance the RTI provisions, privacy concerns and protection of individuals and institutions from misuse of any information acquired through RTI,” the official said. He added, the discussion on the proposed Right to Privacy Bill had been broadened to cover this aspect.

 

“It has also been felt that the RTI Act should have provisions so that frivolous complaints and RTI applications are dealt with a firm hand,” he said. The issue was also part of the meeting of the officials from these agencies and also from the concerned ministries, including the ministry of home affairs, called by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) this week.

 

CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the investigation wing of the Income Tax department, the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Delhi Police are all concerned. “It has been seen that the RTI Act is often misused for settling personal scores and grudges,” the official said.

 

The applications aimed at misusing RTI have emerged as a major problem in the dowry and income tax related cases. Outlining the problem, a senior Income Tax official said: “Earlier people would send complaint against an individual first and then file RTI to get the details about tax payments and income. The situation has changed.

 

The complaint and the RTI are coming together and they demand information within a month.” The investigating agencies have stressed that the endeavour to derail critical investigations by seeking information through RTI is emerging as a big issue, the official said. “If the official handling the RTI application is amenable to manipulation, the results could be dangerous,” he added.

 

Explaining the extent of the problem, he said in one of the RTI applications it had been demanded that information should be provided on the postings of a particular army official in different armed forces bases.

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What do they mean by "misuse" ?

 

Actually they should be saying "we are not prepared to give information" or that they "are not able to give information" rather than misuse.

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I still maintain my old opinion. RTI Act cannot be misused. Till such time the information is provided, how can the information can be used or misused. It is upto the PIO to give or not to give the information sought. If he opt in not to give the information, it is upto him to justify his denial. He got absolute freedom to deny it and face consequences. Yes an information can be used or misused after obtaining it only for which the RTI Agencies have no role or concern. In my earlier post I had given a dirty example. Government pays it employees for their services as per Rules. Govt has no concern as to how does he use his remuneration. He can donate it to a temple or use it for prostitution. Govt. has no concern. So is information under RTI. How it is used is no concern of PA. The aggrieved can file defamation suit or seek other reliefs in that case as per Laws of this country.

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  • 1 month later...

Sir,

Recently FAA passed 3 different orders mentioning " It seems that the applicant is misusing the provisions of RTI act.Applicant filing RTI applications on trivial issues with mischievous intentions".In one appeal I requested to CIC to take serious note of defamatory allegations by the FAA.Whether I should wait for CIC decision or I can directly sent a notice to FAA under IPC 499, 500? Pl. guide me. My 2nd appeal is registered under CIC/SG/A/2011/002956

01-11-2011 SA/UG/11/f16094a6u1

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  • Super Moderator
Whether I should wait for CIC decision or I can directly sent a notice to FAA under IPC 499, 500? Pl. guide me.

 

Better to raise the issue during the second appeal hearing in CIC.

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There is no chance of misusing RTI but there is every possibility to deny information by PIOsimply by quoting sec (8). Unless, the PAs are crystal clear in their functioning and accountable to the people, their mindset will be like that only.

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