Can only the information not possessed by the applicant be sought under RTI?
The appellant was a Lt. Colonel in the Army. The Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore had issued a Movement Certificate in favour of a particular Major authorising him to move from Bangalore to his parent Unit i.e. 307, Field Hospital. As per standard procedure, Major was mandated to produce the Movement Order before the Lt. Colonel in the Army i. e. the appellant. The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Head Quarter Training Command seeking the said Movement Certificate. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under section 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; of the RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the said person was required to produce original Movement Order before the appellant, as per the standard procedure. The Commission held that the appellant can be presumed to be in possession of the requested information and therefore, the rationale between seeking it becomes opaque. The CIC rejected the appeal stating that the information seeker can seek only that information which he does not possess.
Legally, the RTI Act does not narrow down the sphere of seeking information to what is not possessed by an individual. An applicant is not required to give any reason for seeking information under the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Kapil Kumar v. HQ Training Command in File No. CIC/LS/A/2012/002645
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1020
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission