Allahabad High Court advised to revisit the procedure for supplying information under RTI
The appellant had requested for the information regarding the action taken by the High Court on an enquiry report submitted by the District Judge. The Public Information Officer (PIO), with a delay of nearly 5 weeks, informed the appellant that the report was sought from the District Judge and the relevant file was submitted to the Administrative Judge concerned. However, it was not clear if any order was passed in the matter. The respondents explained that the PIO collected the information and put up to the Committee of Judges well within the stipulated period as per the rules/practice followed in the Allahabad High Court for its approval before sending it to the appellant. The delay occurred only because the approval of the Committee was received nearly 4 weeks after it had been put up.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the PIO had not stated whether the report had been received from the District Judge or not and if the High Court had taken any decision/action on that report. The Commission directed the PIO to find out the facts again and communicate the same to the appellant and to provide the photocopies of the relevant records showing the decision taken in the matter. The Commission also noted that the procedure laid down by the High Court for disclosure of information seems to be cumbersome and, therefore, necessarily result in delayed disclosure of information. In most of these cases the PIO cannot be held responsible since he has put up the information before the Committee of Judges in time. The Commission referred to earlier cases and hoped that the Allahabad High Court would revisit its procedure.
The information seekers are sometimes rendered helpless in spite of a powerful law like the Right to Information (RTI) Act in place. The High Courts are the dispensers of justice and it can only be hoped that they would revisit the procedures and ensure that the timelines prescribed in the Right to Information (RTI) Act are invariably met.
Citation: Mr. Dalbir Singh v. Allahabad High Court in File No. CIC/SM/A/2011/001298
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/250
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission