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RTI >> Judgments >> High Court >> Disposal of Request
Supreme Court(Disposal of Request)/ CIC(Disposal of Request)
1 14 Oct, 2019 The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Represented by its Registrar Vs. The Tamil Nadu State Information Commission, Represented by its Assistant Registrar,

Information Sought
The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the writ Petitioner-University states that the second respondent is the student of the writ Petitioner-Law University. The second respondent filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005, to furnish copies of the answer scripts, which were not furnished and consequently, the second respondent approached the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission, who in turn passed an order on 17.12.2018, directing the writ Petitioner-Law University to supply the copies of the answer scripts sought for by the second respondent under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Challenging the said order, the learned counsel for the writ petitioner states that the writ Petitioner-Law University has got its own Rules and Regulations for the purpose of furnishing copies of the answer scripts. The writ Petitioner-Law University has to follow the procedures and under these circumstances, they have rejected the claim of the second respondent for furnishing copies of the answer scripts sought for by him.

After all, 'We, The People of India' solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Therefore, 'We, The People of India' enacted the Right to Information Act, through its Parliament, then the instrumentality of the State or the Public Institutions cannot take a stand that they will adopt their own procedure for furnishing the information’s under the Right to Information Act. When the Parliament enacted the law in order to develop transparency in public administration, undoubtedly, the other procedures or regulations formulated by any other institutions, cannot prevail over the Act of Parliament and those Rules and Regulations of such individual institutions can never override the purpose and object of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The second respondent, in person, articulated his points by stating that large number of such applications are kept pending, by citing the pendency of the present writ petition. Further, the second respondent states that all such information seekers are waiting for the answer scripts and other information’s sought for in their respective applications.

30. Under these circumstances, the writ Petitioner-Law University has not established any acceptable ground for the purpose of assailing the order impugned. Per contra, the order impugned is well reasoned and candid. Thus, the second respondent is entitled to receive the answer scripts as sought for in his application under the Right to Information Act, 2005. All such similar applications are also to be disposed of by the writ Petitioner-Law University, as expeditiously as possible, without causing any undue delay, as the students would be anxious in seeing their answer scripts and on account of the pendency of the writ petition, their applications are kept pending.

This being the factum, the writ Petitioner-Law University is directed to dispose of all the RTI applications filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005, as expeditiously as possible, by following the procedures contemplated under the RTI Act as well as the Rules in force. In respect of the application submitted by the second respondent, the answer scripts had already been furnished to him and no further directions are required in this regard.

32. Accordingly, the writ petition stands dismissed. However, there shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is also dismissed.

2 09 Jan, 2019 State Public Information Officer & Deputy Registrar (Establishment), High Court of Karnataka Vs. Karnataka Information Commission, M.S. Building, 3rd Floor, 3rd Stage, Near- Vidhana Soudha, Ambedkar Veedhi, Bangalore-560001

Information sought
The brief facts of the case are that the second respondent herein filed an application on 07.05.2012 in W.P.No.26762/2013 seeking certified copies of notices received by the office of the Registrar General from advocate
Dr.S.Krishnamurthy seeking to desist from continuing to use pirated Surabhi 2000 Kannada software, action taken on the notices received from advocate Dr.S.Krishnamurthy, replies sent to the notices received from advocate Dr.S.Krishnamurthy and names and contact details of the Registrar Generals of the High Court of Karnataka during 2009-10. In W.P.No.26763/2013 application dated 04.06.2012 is filed seeking information
pertaining to bringing to the knowledge of the supplier of Surabhi 2000 Kannada software about copying of Surabhi Kannada software and its installation in the computers of courts
subordinate to High Court of Karnataka and other similar information. The applications filed under Section 6(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI Act’ for short) are produced as Annexure-A to both the petitions. Pursuant to the applications, the State Public Information Officer had issued endorsements dated 25.06.2012 and 21.06.2012 in W.P.No.26762/2013 and W.P.No.26763/2013, respectively.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of NAMIT SHARMA vs. UNION OF INDIA reported in (2013) 1 SCC 745, while considering Section 22 of the RTI Act, has held as follows:

“79. Let us now examine some other prerequisites of vital significance in the functioning of the Commission. In terms of Section 22 of this Act, the provisions of the Act are to be given effect to, notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. This Act is, therefore, to prevail over the specified Acts and even instruments. The same, however, is only to the extent of any inconsistency between the two. Thus, where the provisions of any other law can be applied harmoniously, without any conflict, the question of repugnancy would not arise.”

In the case of Registrar, Supreme Court of India (supra), it is held as under:

“53. The preamble shows that the RTI Act has been enacted only to make accessible to the citizens the information with the public authorities which hitherto was not available. Neither the preamble of the RTI Act nor does any other provision of the Act disclose the purport of the RTI Act to provide additional mode for accessing information with the public authorities which has already formulated rules and schemes for making the said information available. Certainly if the said rules, regulations and schemes do not provide for accessing information which has been made accessible under the RTI Act, resort can be had to the provision of the RTI Act but not to duplicate or to multiply the modes of accessing information.

54. This Court is further of the opinion that if any information can be accessed through the mechanism provided under another statute, then the provisions of the RTI Act cannot be resorted to as there is absence of the very basis for invoking the provisions of RTI Act, namely, lack of transparency. In other words, the provisions of RTI Act are not to be resorted to if the same are not actuated to achieve transparency.”

In the case of State Public Information
Officer and Deputy Registrar, High Court of Karnataka vs. N.ANBARASAN reported in ILR 2003 Kar.3890 this Court has held that as some of the information sought in the said case was available under Karnataka High Court Act and Rules made thereunder, it was not open for the respondent to ask for copies of the same under the RTI Act. He stated that the information in respect of item Nos. 6 to 17 in the said case related to Writ Petition No.17935/2006 and as the respondent was a party to the said proceeding, it was open to the respondent to file an application, in accordance with the Rules, for certified copies of the order sheets or the relevant documents.

In view of the above discussion, I am of the opinion, if any information can be accessible through the mechanism provided under another statute, then the provisions of the RTI Act cannot be resorted to. In the case on hand, the information which is sought by the second respondent related to the legal
notice which is issuer by the second respondent through his advocate. This is available with the second respondent. In respect of other documents related to O.S.No.4132/2010 which was pending in the Civil Court, Bangalore, he can obtain the same by applying for the certified copies as per the provisions of
Rule 230 of the Rules of Practice. Since the second respondent is party to the proceedings he can apply for the certified copies and obtain the same. Provisions of Rule 230 of Civil Rules of
Practice is extracted herein below:

“230. Application by a party- A party to a suit or proceedings is entitled, at any stage of the proceeding, to obtain copies of the record of the suit or proceeding, including documents which have been admitted in evidence. [Irrespective of whether the documents so admitted in evidence are originals or
certified copies]”

The State Information Commission, without considering these provisions of the Act has passed an order. It is not justified in directing the petitioner to furnish the copies sought in the applications. Hence, the impugned order is unsustainable. Accordingly, the impugned orders at Annexure-F dated 30.04.2013 in both the petitions are quashed.

3 08 Oct, 2018 Public Information Officer Vs. V. Chaudhary

Information sought
By the impugned order, the CIC allowed the second appeal preferred by the respondent under Section 19(3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereafter ‘RTI Act’) by directing the petitioner to enable inspection of the relevant files by the respondent and to
provide the photocopies of the relevant documents pertaining to the information, as requested in the respondent’s RTI application dated 27.08.2012.

Decision of High Court
It is apparent from the above that the petitioner did have the information as sought by the respondent. However, the same was denied to the respondent by referring Section 11 of the RTI Act. A plain reading of Section 11 of the RTI Act indicates that the same does not proscribe furnishing of information. In terms of Section 11(1) of the RTI Act, in cases where the public information officers (PIOs) intend to disclose the information, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by a third
party, it would be necessary for the concerned PIO to give a written notice to the third party. The concerned third party has a right to make a submission either in writing or orally and the concerned PIO is required to keep the same in view while taking a decision regarding disclosure of such information. Thus, Section 11 of the RTI Act cannot be read as a provision proscribing disclosure of information; it
is a provision to enable disclosure of third party information subject to certain safeguards. In this view, the decision of the CPIO denying the information by referring Section 11 of the RTI Act is wholly unsustainable.

The contention of the petitioner that the information as sought by the respondent was third party information, is also unpersuasive. The information as sought by the respondent pertains to unauthorized construction noticed by the police authorities, and in respect of which information had been forwarded to the concerned Municipal Corporation. Such information has neither been provided by any third party nor has been treated as confidential. Undisputedly, the information may relate to third parties inasmuch as it relates to the property of those third parties. However, the information as to unauthorized construction observed by the police authorities cannot be construed as one, which is to be kept confidential in terms of Section 11 of the RTI Act. Subject information that is sought by the respondent is gathered by the police authorities in discharge of their functions and this Court finds no infirmity with the decision of the CIC in directing that the same be provided to the respondent.
4 03 Apr, 2018 Appellants: Arvind Kumar Lohani and Ors. Vs. Respondent: Uttarakhand State Information Commission and Ors.

RTI applicant sought certain information from the petitioners who are said to be Information Officers as appointed under the Act. The information regarding almost all the points, for which, the information was sought was answered, but still, the applicant feeling dissatisfied with the information provided preferred an Appeal before the Appellate Authority. The Departmental Appellate Authority/Commissioner had called upon the applicant to appear before the Appellate Authority and to put up his version in support of his appeal but he deliberately avoided to participate in the proceedings and he did not appear before the Departmental Appellate Authority. On account of non participation in the Appeal, the Appeal was dismissed by the. On the allegation of non-supply of the information as well as the Appellate Order, Second Appeal was filed before the Uttarakhand State Information Commissioner. The Second Appellate Authority directed to issue show cause notice against the Public Information Officer as to why a penalty may not be imposed against him. Simultaneously, there was also a direction to issue show cause notice against the Information Officer calling upon his explanation as to why an order may not be passed under Section 19(8)(ka) for directing to conduct a departmental inquiry against him. It is this order which was challenged by the petitioner No. 1 in his personal capacity by availing the professional services of the office of the Chief Standing Counsel and its machinery.
4. The issue which was for consideration before the Hon’ble High Court was whether on imposition of penalty on the Public Information Officer, as appointed under the Right to Information Act of 2005, the penalty provided u/s. 20, which happens to be a liability in persona could be challenged, by him in person, by availing the professional services of the Chief Standing Counsel and its machinery and state money can be used for the said purpose, contrary to the provisions and purpose of their appointments under Legal Remembrance Manual.
The present case was filed by the then Public Information Officer, who has been imposed upon a penalty u/s. 20 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the impugned order under challenge. He has preferred the writ petition against the impugned order, where a penalty of Rs. 10,000/- has been imposed upon him in his individual capacity.
The Court felt that once a penalty is imposed u/s. 20 of the RTI Act on the Information Officer, as constituted u/s. 5 of the Act, it would be the officer in person responsible for the penalty, as such, if the officer concerned feels aggrieved against the imposition of penalty and wants to agitate the cause before a superior court, he could do so in his individual capacity and for the said purpose, he can only file a writ petition after engaging a private counsel and not through an Additional Chief Standing Counsel or Chief Standing Counsel, as defined under the L.R. Manual. As such, this Court feels that this writ petition as preferred by the petitioner in his individual capacity could not have been filed through the office of the Chief Standing Counsel.
For the above reason the writ petition was dismissed on this ground itself, leaving it open for the petitioner to engage a private advocate and to file writ petition.
5 24 Jan, 2017 BB Dash Vs CIC

The CPIO is to provide the information sought and in case the information is not liable to be provided on account of it being exempt, give sufficient reasons for denying the supply of information. Denial of information can only be in terms of the Act.
6 07 Nov, 2016 Harmesh Singh Jassi vs Central Information Commission and Ors.

Section 7 (1) Supply of Information. The petitioner filed RTI application and sought information in respect of certain documents which were 23 to 26 years old. The defence of the respondent-Board in the written statement is that at that point of time, the selection process was being conducted by the Oil Selection Board, which has been dismantled way back and, therefore, the record is not traceable.

The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that a valid and justifiable reason has been given by the respondent-Board on account of the fact the Oil Selection Board stood dismantled and the record is not traceable. Non-supply of the information is on a valid and justifiable reason and no further directions are liable to be issued which cannot as such be enforced.
7 26 Oct, 2016 Dr. Anil Pannikker vs Central Information Commission, New Delhi and Ors.

Section 7(1) Supply of Information. Section 19(8)(b) Award of Compensation. The petitioner had sought information regarding the appointments made qua the posts of Senior Scientists alongwith Principal Scientists and all RMP posts advertised by the respondent No.3; details had also been sought regarding numbers of candidates whose applications had been rejected; the names of the candidates who were not called for interview is also asked for and the details of the ones selected. The CPIO denied the relief on the ground that various types of the information has been asked and a fresh request should be made for specific information.

The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held the information has been denied only on the ground that it is vast and cannot be supplied or not specific. The said reasoning cannot be justified in any manner. The particulars of the information are very specific what was asked for and is not that the period is so expansive that the information could not have been supplied. The same has unnecessarily been denied by the respondent-Board without any valid justification. The respondent-Board shall supply the information within a period of four weeks from the receipt of the copy of this order. The respondent-Board shall also pay Rs. 10,000/- as compensation to the petitioner under section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, on account of the unnecessary objections raised, which has been to the detriment of the petitioner.
8 03 May, 2016 Dhaval Kumar Kiritkumar Patel Vs. Director & 2

Petitioner filed RTI application before the CPIO and sought information about number of manuscripts stated to have been catalogued by National Manuscript Commission the information was denied by the CIC as well as on the ground that those are the manuscripts of which the respective authors are owners and that such persons are holding copyrights in respect of those information manuscripts

The Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat held that the reasoning supplied by the CIC can be said to be eminently just and proper inasmuch as the functions of the authorities under the RTI Act is delimited to passing orders regarding supply of information to the applicant asked for under the act and to oversee in right to information jurisdiction that the PIO or the Appellate Authority has discharged its functions.
9 07 Apr, 2016 K.K. Ramesh Vs. The Chief Secretary, State of Tamil Nadu, Secretariat, Chennai

The petitioner has filed the writ petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondent to publish all the Government Department Orders (G.O.) Notifications and Rules, Circulars in Internet to enable the public, to know the welfare schemes and other matters of public interest.

The Division Bench of the Hon’ble Madras High Court held that the RTI Act, empowers the authority to decide, as to which detail can be disclosed or not. If the aggrieved person has any grievance over non-furnishing of the details, relating to any specific matter, it is always open to such aggrieved person, to approach the Forum, under the said Act. Publication of all the details of welfare schemes, framed from time to time, may take some time, but in terms of section 4(2) of the RTI Act, such dissemination of information, would enable the public to have easy access to information and minimum resort to use of RTI Act. It reduces the work of Public Information Officer of all the Departments and also cost effectiveness. However, dissemination of such information is subject to the restrictions imposed in the said Act. As the Government have already taken appropriate action in this regard, there is no need to issue any Mandamus, to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamilnadu, except to observe that implementation of G.O.(D)No.22, Information Technology (B4) Department, dated 11.07.2014, be done in letter and spirit.
10 14 Jan, 2016 Power finance Corporation Ltd. Vs. Sushma Singh & Ors.

The petitioner stated that the CIC in non-compliance petition has erred in directing inspection of records which was not originally ordered and further stated that the CIC had directed the petitioner to disclose the documents which are in the exclusive power and possession of another authority, namely, GRIDCO.

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that since the impugned order is based on allegations in both the non-compliance petitions this Court is of the opinion that there has been violation of principles of natural justice. Consequently, the impugned order is set aside and the matter is remanded back to the CIC. The Registry of the CIC is directed to evolve a procedure by virtue of which applications for non-compliance of CIC orders are numbered and different applications are placed in separate files so that this sort of confusion does not arise in future.
11 09 Mar, 2015 Vinod Kumar Versus State Information Commission of Haryana and others

The petitioner sought information regarding the records of the selected candidates against advertisement for a particular post. However, the same was denied by CPIO. The State Information Commission on second appeal, only allowed him to inspect the records. The petitioner filed writ petition seeking copies of the records.

The Court observed that if the petitioner can show that any unqualified candidate has been selected, for the purpose of ‘public interest’, it is not illegal for the petitioner to seek the educational and other details of the selected candidates.

It was held that the petitioner can inspect the necessary records with the Public Authority on any working day and, can be provided whatever copies he requires on payment of the requisite fees.
12 22 Apr, 2014 Paras Jain vs Institute of Companies Secretaries of India

Section 7(1) Supply of Information. Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 Rule 4. Guidelines issued by the respondent for providing certified copies of answer books to students.

The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that it is trite that an executive instruction if in violation of a statutory rule or a regulation must yield to the statutory rule or regulation. The demand by the respondents from the petitioner to pay fee in sum of? 500/- per subject/answer book copy whereof is sought is not sustainable. Guideline No. 3 notified by the respondent is quashed and declare that for the answer sheets copy whereof is sought by the appellant he shall be charged fee as per Rule 4 of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005.
13 08 Jan, 2014 D. Shivu & Ors. Vs High Court of Karnataka & Anr.

Section 7(1) Supply of Information. Recruitment of Civil Judges (Jr. Dn.) in the State of Karnataka. The appellants along with other unsuccessful candidates had inter alia sought a declaration that the holding of viva-voce for the selection of post of Judge (Jr. Dn.) without permitting the candidates to peruse their answer scripts was unjust and arbitrary; also sought a direction to the respondents to furnish to them the answer scripts and for revaluation of the answer papers in the subjects in which they had failed. The respondents contended that there was no lapse or illegality in the selection process and the Karnataka Judicial Service (Recruitment) (Amended) Rules, 2011 (the Rules) did not provide re-totalling or providing photo copies of the answer scripts or revaluation. The Learned Single Judge dismissed the writ petitions as far as revaluation of the answer scripts were as the Rules do not provide for the same. Also there was no allegation of any or irregularity in the matter of valuation of the answer scripts. The Division High Court of Karnataka upheld the decision of the Learned Singe dismissed.
14 20 Nov, 2013 Mr. Avishek Goenka vs Mr. Asish Kumar Roy, Ms. Gargi Mukherjee

The petitioner submits, the authority may not insist upon the detailed address particularly when the applicant would provide a particular post box number that would automatically conceal their identity to the public at large.
We have considered the relevant provisions of the statute. Section 6(2) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 would clearly provide, an applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.
15 21 Aug, 2013 Raj Singh V.S. State Public Information Commissioner, Haryana and Ors.

Section 7(1) The Petitioner had failed an application seeking certain information which he did not receive from the SPIO the State Public Information Commissioner, Haryana has observed that the appellant himself had given a letter which was taken on record confirming receipt of complete information to his satisfaction – The petitioner prays that the impugned order be set aside on the ground that he was pressurised into giving this letter of satisfaction to the competent authority
The Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that such a plea cannot be appreciated in proceedings under |Article 226 of the Constitution of India more particularly when the petitioner has failed to establish such a malice on the part of the authorities which according to him pressurised him into giving the letter which was detrimental to his cause. This would in any case result in a disputed questions of fact and thus this Court does not find any reason to interfere with the order impugned herein.
Total Case uploaded: 28