ISTM Logo Here

Gandhiji Image here
Sat, Apr 20, 2024
Hindi Website Button Here
RTI >> Judgments >> High Court >> Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection)
Supreme Court(Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection))/ CIC(Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection))

The applicant sought information under Right To Information Act, 2005 (herein after referred to as RTI Act, 2005) regarding the pre-screened data for the post of Principal released on 15.01.2018.
The Court has observed that ……. Under the RTI Act, transparency is rule and secrecy is exception and yet there has been active concealment of information which ought to be on public domain which only goes on to indicate foul play in the shortlisting of the candidate. The unreasoned delay on part of PIO also indicates avoidance of disclosure to achieve ulterior motive of not conducting the appointment in a just and transparent manner. Because most basic information was denied on the pretext of “information not in possession of college”, which is untrue on the face of it, as the information sought was the same which needed to be filed by the applicants in their online application form for the post of Principal. Accordingly, the petitioner has established that the procedure which was followed for shortlisting is not a clear transparent case of favouritism towards the present Officiating Principal, Hindu College and that the whole process is just an eye wash when in reality, respondent NO. 6 seems to be pre-decided candidate who secured 405 API Score. As a result of this undue advantage which is being given to the said candidate, the Petitioner’s fundamental right under Article 14 of the Constitution of India is being jeopardized.
2 08 Oct, 2018 PIO, Commissioner of Police Vs V Choudhary

In terms of the RTI Act, all information as available with the public authority is required to be provided to the citizen unless it is exempt from disclosure under section 8 of the RTI Act or otherwise pertains to the organizations that are excluded from the purview of the RTI Act. Thus, the question whether authentic information is available with another public authority is not a ground to deny the information as sought from a public authority.
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.
3 05 Oct, 2018 Shakti Singh vs State Information Commission, Haryana and others

Perusal of the above order would show that the Commission has denied information under the RTI Act to the petitioner on the ground that as per Section 17 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, there being a statutory mechanism evolved and prescribed, the said procedure would have to be followed and the provisions of RTI Act would not be applicable.

Now moving on with this foundation to deal with the situation where a method has been prescribed under a statute for obtaining information under a particular statute which may not be inconsistent with the provisions of the RTI Act, can the seeker of such information be deprived of such information on this ground or in other words, the information as sought under the RTI Act be denied?

The reply to this question is that there being no inconsistency under the RTI Act and the provisions of the other statute/law, the option and prerogative is with the citizen to select and choose to exercise his right under such Act/law or the RTI Act. In case the citizen prefers to move an application under the RTI Act, Public Information Officer, on receipt of such request, shall proceed to take a decision thereon and provide information as a norm and any denial of the same must be in accordance with Sections 8, 9 and 11 only. The right to information, thus, cannot be denied under the RTI Act merely because a statutory mechanism is evolved and prescribed under an Act, which is also applicable, obliging a public authority to share the same by following a prescribed procedure subject to fulfillment of prescribed conditions. If it is held otherwise, it would negate and lead to derecognising the fundamental right to information as granted under the RTI Act, which is unacceptable.

The answers to the two questions as posed in para 6 above are;
(i) In case of any inconsistency between the provisions of RTI Act and other Act/law, the RTI Act shall prevail.
(ii) In case of an application preferred under the RTI Act where alternative procedure and conditions are prescribed under any other statute/law, the said application cannot be rejected and/or information denied on this ground. Such application shall be dealt with under the provisions of the RTI Act.

The non-obstante clause under Section 22 of the RTI Act does not mean an implied repeal over all statutes, but only an overriding provision in case of an inherent inconsistency. The Apex Court in Basti Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. Vs. State of U.P, (1979) 2 SCC 88 has held as under:-
“23. ....“Inconsistent”, according to Black's Legal Dictionary, means “mutually repugnant or contradictory; contrary, the one to the other so that both cannot stand, but the acceptance or establishment of the one implies the abrogation or abandonment of the other”. So we have to see whether mutual coexistence between Section 34 of the Bonus Act and Section 3(b) of the U.P. Act is impossible. If they relate to the same subject-matter, to the same situation, and both substantially overlap and are co-extensive and at the same time so contrary and repugnant in their terms and impact that one must perish wholly if the other were to prevail at all — then, only then, are they inconsistent. In this sense, we have to examine the two provisions. Our conclusion, based on the reasoning which we will presently indicate, is that “inconsistency” between the two provisions is the produce of ingenuity and consistency between the two laws flows from imaginative understanding informed by administrative realism. The Bonus Act is a long-range remedy to produce peace; the U.P. Act provides a distress solution to produce truce. The Bonus Act adjudicates rights of parties; the U.P. provision meets an emergency situation on an administrative basis. These social projections and operational limitations of the two statutory provisions must be grasped to resolve the legal conundrum.........”
Section 22 provides for repugnancy vis-a-vis provisions contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and any other law for the time being in force, W.P.(C) 3530/2011 Page 20 of 36 which other law, by virtue of the principle of ejusdem generis, would also have to be of the same nature as the Official Secrets Act, 1923, namely, a statute contemplating lack of transparency/access to information. [See: F.C.I Vs. Yadav Engineer & Contractor, (1982) 2 SCC 499, paras 4, 10, 12; Ishwar Singh Bagga Vs. State of Rajasthan, (1987) 1 SCC 101, para 9; and State of U.P. Vs. Harish Chandra and Co., (1999) 1 SCC 63, para 10].
Since both the RTI Act, 2005 and the SCR aim at dissemination of information, there is no inherent inconsistency, other than the procedural inconsistency at the highest between the RTI Act and the SCR.
5 06 Jun, 2017 University of Kerala and others Vs. Pramodkumar.K. and others

Decision of High Court

The issue raised in this writ petition is covered against the petitioners by the judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in Kerala Public Service Commission v. StateInformationCommission,Kerala and Others [2011 (2) KHC 87]. Paragraph 21 of the judgment rendered in the said case reads thus:

One of the issues that arise for consideration is the plea of the PSC that it having made rules for issuance of copies and dissemination of information to candidates; it ought not to be compelled to issue such information, also under the provisions of the RTI Act. This argument appears to be quite appealing because public institutions like PSC meet their expenses from public funds. Necessarily, it has to be the endeavour of all concerned to ensure that expenditure from such funds is confined to actual requirements. At the same time, the mode and provision for access to information under the provisions of the rules made by the PSC, as also, the cost factor, if any, involved, may be relevant considerations to ultimately conclude as to whether there could be any exclusion of access to such information under the provisions of the RTI Act and the rules framed thereunder, on the premise that alternate, efficacious and cost-friendly modes of access to information are otherwise provided for by the statutory rules and other provisions that govern the working of the public authority from which, information could be sought under the RTI Act. But, as the law now stands, there is no scope for any judicial recognition of such a plea and a favourable decision on that issue through a judicial order. This is because S.22 of the RTI Act provides that the provisions of that Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than that Act. Such statutory provision having been made by the legislature, within its competence, it cannot be watered down or modified except by recourse to legislative procedures. We therefore do not find way to accept the contention of the PSC in this regard.”

In the light of the decision referred to above, this writ petition is only to be dismissed and I do so.
6 24 Apr, 2017 Harkrishan Das Nijhawan Vs. Satyavir Katar, CPIO Delhi Police Licensing Unit & Ors

Applicant has no right to participate in the penalty proceedings:

The applicant alleged that information sought from CPIO has not been received. It was admitted that the information has already been furnished to the petitioner. The petitioner has received un-edited information in a public interest litigation.
High Court agreed with CIC and the Writ Petition dismissed.
In this Case, HC has opined [Para 6 & 7] that, the provision of Section 20 of the RTI Act is a matter between CIC and CPIO where the bonafide intention of the CPIO while taking the decision examined.
7 03 Oct, 2016 Vijay Kirshna Kumbhar vs The State of Maharashtra & Ors.

  The issue before the Hon'ble High Court was whether   the   State   Chief
Information   Commissioner   has   the  power   to   transfer   the   State
Information Commissioners from one place to another by exercising
power vested in him under Section 15(4) of the Right to Information
Act, 2005?

The Divisional Bench of Bombay High Court held that the State Chief Information Commissioner is expected to act in an independent manner and therefore power is vested in him to have general superintendence over the functioning of the Sate Information Commission. The State Chief Information Commissioner has power under Section15(4) of the said Act to transfer the State Information Commissioner from one region to another for the purpose of ensuring that the Commission functions in a smooth manner. If there is any curb on his authority, the very aim and object of having the Sate Information Commission would be rendered nugatory and would be defeated.''
8 04 Jul, 2016 T.S. Sidhu vs The State Information Commission, Punjab & Anr.

The petitioner had challenged the order passed by State Information Commission, whereby recommendation has been made to the Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab, Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, to initiate disciplinary proceedings for minor mis-conduct under the Punishment and Appeal Rules against him. The reason given was that the petitioner had not acted in time and there was careless and evasive approach adopted by him while providing information under RTI Act.

The Hon'ble High Court held that, it is not clear as to how the responsibility has been fixed upon the petitioner, who was acting as the Appellate Authority and a finding has been recorded that the PIOs were made to act as instructed by the Principal. Nothing has been recorded as to whether the said PIO had filed any such affidavit that petitioner who was the Principal had instructed him to delay the proceedings and not to supply the information to the respondent. In such circumstances, the finding which has been recorded that the petitioner specifically directed the PIO not to supply the information and to delay, the same is not substantiated in any manner. The same is recorded on the basis of surmises and conjectures and is not sustainable. Accordingly, the said directions to initiate disciplinary proceedings, which have been issued against the petitioner cannot be sustained.
9 24 May, 2016 Union of India Vs. Vansh Sharad Gupta

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that:
'' Technical and procedural arguments cannot be allowed to come in the way of substantial justice. The directions given by the CIC in the impugned order are not only fair and reasonable but also promote the concept of rule of law. It is unfortunate that the petitioner did not take the initiative on its own to upload the latest amended bare Acts. Public can be expected to follow the law only if law is easily accessible ‘at the click of a button. In fact, as rightly pointed out by the CIC, the RTI Act itself mandates the Government of place the texts of enactments in public domain. This court also take judicial notice of the fact that in challenging the imposition of costs of Rs. 10,000/-, the Government of India would have spent more money in filing the present writ petition''.

Consequently, this court is of the view that the costs of Rs. 10,000/- which was directed to be paid by the CIC, should be recovered from the salary of the Government officials who authorized the filing of the present writ petition''.
10 26 Apr, 2016 A. Prabhakar Vs. The State Information Commissioner, Chennai

The petitioner filed an RTI application seeking certain information from the PIO attached to the Teachers Recruitment Board, Chennai. On the basis of the appeal, a direction was issued to the PIO to furnish the information sought for by the petitioner.

The Hon’ble Madras High Court held that:
" the order dated 24.09.2014, which is impugned in this writ petition, it is clearly mentioned that the issue relating to furnishing the information sought for by the petitioner need not be adjudicated as the information has been already furnished to the petitioner. The first respondent therefore only dealt with the delay in furnishing such information and recommended to initiate suitable action against the concerned Public Information Officer. This order has nothing to do with the petitioner and the petitioner has no locus standi to challenge the said proceedings of the first respondent. In any event, the petitioner has not right to file this writ petition challenging the proceedings of the first respondent. Writ petition dismissed'.
11 19 Jan, 2016 Shail Sahni Vs. Smt Valsa Sara Mathew & Ors

The Applicant in her RTI Application sought a large number of information of which some are very vague and not related to public interest. The Hon’ble Court held that:
'' some of the RTI applications filed by the petitioner are general, wide, omnibus and vague. The Court, while dealing with an earlier writ petition filed by the petitioner with regard to a similar application under RTI Act, had observed that ‘keeping in view the width and amplitude of the information sought by the petitioner, it is apparent that the prayers in the writ petition are nothing short of an abuse of process of law and motivated if not an attempt to intimidate the respondent’. Since, despire the aforesaid judgment, the petitioner is still filing general, irrelevant and vague queries, this Court dismisses the present writ petition with costs of Rs.25,000/- to be paid by the petitioner to the Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi'.
12 19 Jan, 2016 Shibu Jacob Vs. The Public Information officer,Judicial First Class Magistrate Court,

Information sought
The petitioner sought an information under the Right to Information Act in respect of the documents produced in C.C.No.No.642/2015 on the file of the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Muvattupuzha. The Public Information Officer directed the petitioner to apply for the certified copy of those documents. The petitioner challenges the above decision.

Decision of High Court
This Court is of the view that, since documents are available to be issued as a certified copy, certainly, the petitioner could have obtained it by way of certified copy. Therefore, there is no infirmity with the order. However, if the petitioner approaches the respondent for certified copy, the certified copy shall be issued to the petitioner within one week from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.

13 12 Jan, 2016 Naresh Kumar Vs. Central Information Commission and Ors.

The petitioner stated that the CIC while directing to disclose the information did not direct disciplinary action under section 20(2) of the RTI Act..

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that:
'' the formation of opinion under section 20(2) of the RTI Act is in the exercise of supervisory powers CIC and not in the exercise of the adjudicatory powers. The information seeker has no locus standi in penalty proceedings under section 20 of the RTI Act. The CIC was well entitled in its discretion not to direct initiation of the disciplinary proceedings under section 20(2) of the RTI Act, especially, when the information sought by the petitioner had been directed to be provided to him.''
14 07 Jan, 2016 The Registrar Supreme Court of India Vs. Commodore Lokesh K. Batra & Ors.

The Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that:
- on a combined reading of section 4(1)(a) and section 2(i), it appears that the requirement is only to maintain the records in a manner which facilitates the right to information under the Act. Right to information under section 2(j) means only the right to information which is held by any public authority. There are no other provisions in the Act under which a direction can be issued to the public authority to collate the information in the manner in which it is sought by the applicant. The order under appeal to the extent of upholding the direction of CIC not being in conformity with the provisions of the Act and the law laid down in CBSE vs Aditya Bandhopadhyay is struck down.
15 10 Aug, 2015 Block Development and Panchayat Officer Versus SIC and another

The brief facts before the High Court case are that respondent is a
defeated candidate in the elections of Gram Panchayat who filed the RTI Application requesting,full name and address of the voters who had casted their votes in the election of Gram Panchayat. The SIC directed the appellant to supply complete information as per RTI application which was subsequently upheld by a Single Bench of the High Court.
Hon'ble High Court (Division Bench) observed that:
'' It cannot be said that information in respect of queries which can be answered only after examining
and downloading the data stored in the EVMs is information accessible as it is held by or under the control of the Election Commission of India unless
conditions specified in the Election Rules are satisfied.
The bench set aside the order passed by the learned single Judge as well as the order passed by the State Information Commissioner,''
Total Case uploaded: 63