Can PIO be compelled under RTI to provide information which does not exists?
The appellant referred to a news report and filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Lok Sabha Secretariat. He sought information relating to a particular house located on 6 Krishna Menon Marg. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that this particular house was not in the Lok Sabha Pool and that they did not have any information in this regard.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant argued that the office of the Speaker should have the desired information if not the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The respondent submitted that the office of the Speaker was part of the Lok Sabha secretariat and the desired information was not held by them. He also contended that they did not know who else would have such information. The appellant argued that since the Lok Sabha Secretariat had issued a Press Note informing about the prayer in this particular house it would be unlikely that they would not have any information about this house. The respondent submitted that they had no information about the house as it was not part of the Lok Sabha Pool and the publication in Press Note need not indicate that the Lok Sabha Secretariat had any information about 6 Krishna Menon Marg.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the public authority had given a categorical denial and the CIC cannot compel the PIO to provide any information which does not exists with the public authority.
Citation: Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarwal v. Lok Sabha Secretariat in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000234 & 000678
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/742
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