Amendments to SC and ST Order – copy of debates held in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sought –debates are uploaded in the website – CIC: if appellant has difficulty in accessing the information from website, photocopy should be provided
1. The Appellant had, in two separate RTI applications, sought some details about the amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act 1956 and 1976. The CPIO of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs had transferred her applications to both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Secretariats. It appears that these applications were further transferred to a whole host of Government of India Ministries. The CPIO concerned from several of these public authorities had provided her with a variety of information. Not satisfied, she had preferred appeals which had also been disposed of by the respective Appellate Authority.
2. During the hearing, from the submissions of the Appellant, it appeared that she would be interested to get the hard copy of the debates held in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha while discussing and passing these amendments both in 1956 and also in 1976. She would also be interested in getting the copies of all the documents which had been placed in the House in connection with these amendments. We understand that neither House retains the documents placed before it in connection with any Bill beyond one year of passing of the Bill. Therefore, one thing is certain that the copies of the documents placed in the House in connection with these amendments would no longer be available in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. However, the debates are available both in the form of hard copy and also as uploaded in the website of the respective house. As far as the Rajya Sabha is concerned, it has already provided the copies of the debates for the 1956 amendment to this Order but the Lok Sabha has not provided either of the debates in hardcopy form. Instead, they have advised the Appellant to either see these debates in the website or in the library of the Lok Sabha itself or in the nearest State Assembly. Since the Appellant has difficulty in accessing this information either from the website or from any of these libraries, it would be appropriate if the photocopy of the debates are provided to her.
3. We direct the CPIO of the Lok Sabha to provide to the Appellant within 15 working days of receiving this order the photocopies of the debates in respect of the amendment to the Order in question in both 1956 and 1976 separately, free of charge.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Smt. Munni Devi v. Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice in File No. CIC/SM/A/2013/000282