Are the records of Rajya Sabha Secretariat catalogued and indexed?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Rajya Sabha Secretariat seeking to know the kind of data maintained by the Rajya Sabha secretariat in compliance of section 4(1)(a) Every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated; of the RTI Act and if no such record was being maintained, he wanted the reason as per the section 4(1)(d) Every public authority shall provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons. of the RTI Act. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that most of the work of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat was being done on computers and that much of this information was also being uploaded in the Rajya Sabha website.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that as per section 4(1)(a) Every public authority shall maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated; , every public authority should publish the list of all the files and records along with the subject of each of these so that the information seekers find it easy to identify the exact record they need. The CIC held that appellant has misunderstood the implication of this particular provision; no public authority is required to maintain any specific data relating to this provision. Instead, it is expected to manage its data by properly cataloguing and indexing it with a view to facilitating the right to information. Computerisation of the records is only a means to achieve the goal of better management of records so that the retrieval and publication of information is made easy. The Commission noted that from the response of the PIO, it is not clear if the Rajya Sabha secretariat has catalogued and indexed all its files and records. The CIC held that the Rajya Sabha Secretariat must publish the list of all its files along with the broad subject matter in its website and keep updating it, from time to time. The CIC directed the PIO to place this order before the competent authority in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to initiate action in this regard at the earliest and upload the catalogue of all the files and records in its possession. Regarding the compliance of the provisions of section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; and section 4(1)(d) Every public authority shall provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons. , the CIC held that this provision requires all public authorities to record and convey the reasons for their administrative and quasi-judicial decisions to the affected persons and there is nothing for the PIO to do in it. The CIC ruled that there is no further information to be disclosed by the PIO to the appellant.
This order raises a very pertinent question – If the public authority does not record and convey the reasons for their administrative and quasi-judicial decisions to the affected persons, who is the responsible for ensuring its implementation responsible? What steps are needed to ensure compliance of the provisions of the RTI Act?
Citation: Mr. Aseem Takyar v. Rajya Sabha Secretariat in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/001414
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1317
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