Can an Indian citizen residing abroad file an application under RTI?
The appellant was an Associate Professor in National University of Educational Planning & Administration (NUEPA) and presently in United Kingdom. She filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the NUEPA is seeking information with regard to the extension of her probation. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that as per section 1(2) of the RTI Act, the Act applies to the whole of India except the State of J&K. Obviously it does not extend to her current place of stay, i.e. United Kingdom. However, since she is a citizen of India as stated by her in the said RTI application, she may submit her application through Indian Embassy in United Kingdom. Accordingly, her RTI application stands disposed in the present situation. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) observed that the appellant did not file the first appeal within the prescribed period of 30 days and filed it after a gap of about 16 months; the PIO had not denied the information but advised the appellant to file the RTI application through the Indian High Commission; even after returning to India the appellant took about three months to file the first appeal without any valid reasons. Further, the reasons given by her in the appeal memo are her personal matters which have no relevance under the RTI Act and hence do not justify the inordinate delay in the filing of the first appeal. The FAA dismissed the appeal on the ground of delay in the filing of the first appeal.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the PIO did not entertain the RTI application on the ground that it was not routed through Indian High Commission at London. However, the FAA did not give any heed to this fact. The CIC also noted that proviso to section 19(2) Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order. empowers the FAA to condone the delay in filing the first appeal beyond the prescribed period of thirty days if he is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. The CIC held that the order passed by the FAA does not deal with this issue in specific terms and in his detailed order has not given any finding that the appellant has not shown sufficient cause for the delay in filing the first appeal. The Commission directed the FAA to revisit the matter and pass an appropriate order.
There is no need to route the RTI applications through the embassy under the RTI Act.
Citation: Ms. Rasmita Das Swain v. National University of Educational Planning & Administration in File No. CIC/RM/A/2012/000546/LS
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1417
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