Can entire application be rejected on the grounds that clarification was sought?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seeking information relating to Depository Participant. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided part information and denied the remaining stating that they were in the nature of seeking clarification rather than any information within the meaning of section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that although most of the queries were in the nature of seeking clarification, still the application cannot be dismissed only on that ground. The CIC held that an ordinary citizen cannot be expected to know the exact information which the public authority holds; therefore, he often states his problem and expects that the PIO would provide the relevant information available in material form. The Commission noted that the appellant was having some problem with his depository participant which was related to the alleged unilateral change made by the depository participant in his bank account. The Commission directed the PIO to find out the relevant rules/ instructions/ guidelines/ circulars, available with the SEBI on this subject issued by any other authority, and provide the copies of the same to the appellant.
A Citizen may not be aware of how the information is held by the public authority but the PIO should receive the application with an open mind. In the interest of transparency, the PIO should try to provide as much information as possible without getting into the technicalities.
Citation: Shri Nayan Bhagwat Prasad v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000534
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1005
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission