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RTI >> Judgments >> High Court >> Preamble
Supreme Court(Preamble)/ CIC(Preamble)
S.No. HIGH COURT CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CWP-13231-2017 (High Court of Punjab & Haryana)
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17 Dec, 2018 Pardeep Kumar Vs. Union Territory, Chandigarh and others

Information sought
The brief facts necessary for the adjudication of the petition are that the petitioner was promoted to the post of the Assistant Food & Supplies Officer vide order dated 21.12.2012 on the basis of the recommendations made by the Departmental Promotion Committee constituted by the Chandigarh Administration qua Class III employees of the Department of Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs, U. T. Chandigarh. Though there is no reference to the probation period in order dated 21.12.2012 but it was stated in the Court that it was one year. Though one-year probation period was over on 20.12.2013, the same was extended by another six months vide order dated 19.02.2014. Thereafter the petitioner was issued show cause notice on 14.03.2014. The petitioner filed a detailed reply to the notice on 21.03.2014. He was reverted to the post of Inspector, Food & Supplies Grade-I, vide order dated 24.03.2014. The petitioner filed an appeal against the order dated 24.03.2014. The appellate authority rejected the appeal on 07.10.2015. The petitioner filed the original application as per details given hereinabove. It was also dismissed by the Central Administrative Tribunal on 03.02.2017.

The petitioner's probation was over on 20.12.2013. No provision has been brought to the notice of the Court whereby the probation period, which had expired on 20.12.2013, could be extended for another six months vide order dated 19.02.2014. The petitioner has been issued show cause notice to which he has filed reply on 21.03.2014. The gist of the show cause notice is that the petitioner has maintained association with Mr. Shambhu Benerjee, National President, Rashtriya Lok Kalyan Party. This party had staged various protests against the department. It was also stated in the show cause notice that he was seeking information from the department under the Right to Information Act. This was viewed as question mark on his integrity. The petitioner was reverted on 24.03.2014. It is evident from the language used in the notice that it was punitive and stigmatic. In case the petitioner was found indulging in any misconduct, the regular inquiry could be instituted against him. The order reverting the petitioner though is simpliciter but the moment, veil is lifted it is based on misconduct attributed to the petitioner vide show cause notice dated 14.03.2014. The learned Tribunal has made a reference to the judgments to the effect that the period of probation could be extended even if earlier period had come to end. However no judgments were cited in the order.

Decision of High Court
The order reverting the petitioner is vindictive. The petitioner has absolute right to get the information under the Right to Information Act. Seeking information under the Right to Information Act cannot put question mark on his integrity. The appellate order has also over looked this aspect.
The learned Tribunal has over looked the basic principles of service jurisprudence dealing with the probation period as well as stigmatic punitive order.

Accordingly, the petition is allowed. The order dated 03.02.2017 is set aside along with reversion order dated 24.03.2014 and appellate order dated 07.10.2015. The respondents are directed to permit the petitioner to discharge the duties of the Assistant Food & Supplies Officer as per order dated 21.12.2012 with all consequential benefit.
2 W.P.(C) 2258/2012 and CM APPL. 4845/2012 High Court of Delhi
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20 Feb, 2014 UNION OF INDIA Vs PRAVEEN GUPTA

Information Sought:
a) What steps has been taken by the Ministry to improve Hindi Language give details.
b) What steps has been taken by the Ministry to made Hindi as National Language. What kind of work is being done by your ministry in Hindi. How much percentage of work is being done in Hindi.
c) Steps being taken by the ministry for NGOs, Media provide details. Copy of orders notification issued in respect to this.
d) Provide tails and location of next World Hindi Sammellan.

CPIO's Reply:
Delay in supplying information.

CIC's Decision:
The CIC has imposed penalty on the PIO on the ground that the information had been supplied after lapse of hundred days instead of prescribed period of thirty days.

In the opinion of this Court, the primary duty of the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs is to maintain good diplomatic relations with different countries and to promote as well as protect the political, economic interest of the country abroad. If the limited manpower and resources of the Ministry of External Affairs are devoted to address such meaningless and vague queries, this Court is of the opinion that the office of the Ministry of External Affairs would come to a standstill.

Decision by High Court:
The competent authorities under the RTI Act will have to maintain a proper balance so that while achieving transparency the demand for information does not reach unmanageable proportions affecting other public interests, which include efficient operation of public authorities and the Government, preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information and optimum use of limited fiscal resources. The order of CIC dated 13th October, 2011 imposing penalty on the PIO set aside. Section 7(9).

Observations relating to the spirit enshrined in the Preamble of the Act:
The court cited Supreme Court judgement in ICAI vs. Shaunak H. Satya, (2011) 8 SCC781 and observed that “The competent authorities under the RTI Act will have to maintain a proper balance so that while achieving transparency, the demand for information does not reach unmanageable proportions affecting other public interests, which include efficient operation of public authorities
3 W.P. 18407 (W) of 2012
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18 Dec, 2012 Tanuj Paul Vs. State of West Bengal and Ors

Information Sought:
Answer Script – Re-evaluation – the petitioner made an application seeking information relating to the marks awarded in the written examination as well as in the Person Personality Test in the Mathematics subject – the answer script of the mathematics subject was supplied to the petitioner. The petitioner demonstrated before the Hon’ble High Court that the answer to Question No. 29 has been evaluated to be totally incorrect and, therefore, no mark was awarded. The petitioner annexed the answer script of another examinee wherefore it appears that the said examinee had also answered in the manner similar to that of the petition and was awarded full marks. The discrepancy in evaluation is apparent. The petitioner prayed for re-examination and/or re-evaluation of the answer script, which has been turned down by the School Service Commission, as there is no provision for the same.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta held that there is no justification in denying re-examination and/or re-evaluation of the answer scripts. Since non-symmetry in evaluation of the answer scripts is apparent, the said school service commission should do re-examination and/or re-evaluation of the answer scripts. The Hon’ble High Court relied upon its own earlier unreported judgement, rendered in the case of Sharmistha Maji Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors. (W.P. 10377 (W) of 2012) decided on October 10, 2012, wherein it was held that in order to achieve the declared goal of promoting “transparency and accountability”, the commission, a public authority, while shouldering responsibility, should evolve a mechanism for re-examination or re-evaluation of the answer scripts. Since the preamble of the RTI Act lays down the scope and purpose of the Act, re-examination or re-evaluation by the Commission would be a concrete step for promoting “transparency and accountability”, as it would dispel doubts about the manner of examination or evaluation of the answer scripts. In order words, merely furnishing an answer script does not promote accountability as the Commission has to explain the method or examination or evaluation which ca be done, if sought for, by a candidate by re-examination or re-evaluation of his answer script thus making the system transparent.

4 C.W.P. No. 10981 of 2012 (O&M)
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30 Oct, 2012 Ved Parkash and others Petitioners Vs State of Haryana and others Respondents

The issue in this case was whether joint applications are valid or not under RTI Act.

a) Para 2. Learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners herein filed application seeking certain information from Public Information Officer, PWD, B&R, Jind Circle and deposited the requisite fee. As some sketchy and incomplete information was provided by the Public Information Officer, the petitioners preferred appeal before the first appellate authority, who vide order dated nil, endorsement dated 7.12.2011, directed for supply of the information and also warned the Public Information Officer to be careful in future. As the information was still not provided, the petitioners preferred appeal before the Commission, which was dismissed by holding that the petitioners have no right to invoke the provisions of the Act in terms of Section 3 thereof, as only a citizen individually has the right to seek information and not a group of citizens.

b) Para 3. Learned counsel further submitted that the petitioners, who are three in number, are citizens of India. The application was filed by them to avoid multiplicity of litigation as the information sought by them was common. It could be sought even by each one of them individually. It is not that if three persons had approached the authority under the Act jointly, their individual status would change. It will not become a legal entity as such different from their individual status which may not be termed as citizens of India, such as society or company. He further submitted that before taking up the appeal filed by the petitioners, the Commission did not even grant opportunity of hearing to them.

c) Para 4. Learned counsel for the State though tried to make effort to defend the order but could not successfully plead that if three individuals file a petition jointly, the information cannot be provided holding their application to be not maintainable. As far as merits of the controversy are concerned, learned counsel submitted that the entire information, as sought by the petitioners, has already been supplied. Copies of the Rules, as have been sought, will also be supplied and in fact, the grouse of the petitioners does not subsist and the petition deserves to be dismissed.

Decision by High Court:
Merely because more than one citizen had sought information by filing a joint application when their cause of action is same, it cannot be rejected holding that the same was filed by group of persons. The ultimate object is to avoid multiplicity. In case more than one individual can file separate application for same relief, they can always file a joint application.
5 W.P. 10377 (W) of 2012 along with W.P. Nos. 13269 (W), 10155 (W), 10193 (W), 13188 (W), 14583 (W),14168 (W), 14186 (W), 10694 (W), 15532 (W), 15533 (W), 15537 (W), 15561 (W), 15666 (W), 15839 (W), 22862 (W), 22862 (W) of 2012
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10 Oct, 2012 Sharmistha Maji Vs. State of West Bengal and ORs.

Issue for determination was that whether the system of evaluation of the answer sheets can be the subject matter under RTI Act.

Information Sought:
An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority – Re-examination or re-evaluation of answer scripts.

The petitioners who appeared in the RLST, being dissatisfied with the marks awarded, filed written applications before the Commission under the RTI Act for having copies of their answer scripts – the Commission provided the copies of the answer scripts. The common grievance of the petitioners is that the said answer scripts were not evaluated in a proper manner. The petitioners stated that though applications were filed before the Commission for re-examination or re-evaluation of the answer scripts, however, those have been turned down in the absence of specific provisions in the West Bengal School Service Commission (selection of Persons for Appointment to the Post of Teachers) Rules, 2007. The petitioners contended that since the RTI Act is for promotion of transparency and accountability in the working of every authority, any order denying re-examination or re-evaluation or the answer scripts would be in breach or its object.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta held that a Public Authority, while shouldering responsibility, should evolve a mechanism for re-examination or re-evaluation of the answer scripts. Since the preamble of the RTI Act lays down the scope and purpose of the Act, re-examination or re-evaluation by the Commission would be a concrete step in promoting “transparency and accountability”, as it would clear doubts about the manner of examination or evaluation of the answer scripts. In other words, merely furnishing as answer scripts does not promote accountability as the Commission has to explain the method of examination or evaluation which can be done, if sought for, by a candidate by re-examination or re-evaluation of his answer scripts thus making the system transparent.
6 L.P.A. No. 543 of 2009
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11 Jul, 2011 The Commissioner (Appeal) of Central Excise and Service Tax, Ranchi Appellant Vs Central Information Commission, New Delhi

The Commissioner (Appeal) of Central Excise and Service Tax, Ranchi Appellant Vs Central Information Commission, New Delhi

The issue for determination is whether under the RTI Act could direct for reconstruction of the record and then furnish the information to the applicant.
Total Case uploaded: 6