CIC: Copies of all the official circulars, orders etc should be suo-moto disclosed by the Public Authority on their website for the convenience of the public at large; Provide proper hyper-links and sub-links where the desired information is available
The appellant has sought year wise copy of official circulars, orders, directions, reminders, advisories, video conferencing minutes or any other information for ensuring “Adequate Safe Drinking Water to Public of Rajasthan in least minimum time” sent from time to time by MDWS (now Deptt. of Drinking Water and Sanitation) to State of Rajasthan during the period from 2002 till 29 March 2017.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO as the desired information was not provided to him and moreover, the desired information could not be found on the website link which had been given in the CPIO’s reply. The CPIO submitted that an appropriate reply was provided to the appellant on 22.06.2017.
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that the appellant though his RTI application had sought the copies of all the official circulars, orders etc for ensuring “Adequate Safe Drinking Water to Public of Rajasthan in least minimum time” sent from time to time by the Deptt. of Drinking Water and Sanitation to State of Rajasthan from 2002 till 29 March 2017. This information should be suo-moto disclosed by the Public Authority on their website for the ease and convenience of the public at large as voluntary disclosure of all the information that ought to be displayed in the public domain should be the rule and members of the public having to seek information should be an exception. An open government, which is the cherished objective of the RTI Act, can be realised only if all public offices comply with proactive disclosure norms. Section 4(2) It shall be a constant endeavour of every public authority to take steps in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section (1) to provide as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information. of the RTI Act mandates every public authority to provide as much information suo-moto to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including the Internet, so that the public need not resort to the use of RTI Act.
At this point, the CPIO submitted that the desired information from the year 2011 onwards is available on the website of the concerned Ministry. However, before that the subject matter was handled by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and hence, all the physical records available with them which were transferred from MDWS are not in a consolidated and a ready-made form.
Based on the above observations, the CPIO, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation is directed to provide an additional reply to the appellant giving him proper hyper-links and sub-links where the desired information from the year 2011 can be located. Further, for the records related to the period before 2011, the CPIO is directed to offer inspection of the relevant available records to the appellant at a mutually convenient date and time, within 45 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appellant is directed to avail of the said offer within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of the letter of inspection from the respondent authority, failing which no further opportunity will be provided to him.
The respondent authority is also advised to update their website on a timely basis as per the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Sunil Pareek v. Ministry of Jal Shakti Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation in Decision no.: CIC/MODWS/A/2017/606108/MODWS/02019, Date of Decision: 31/10/2019