Can a second appeal be filed to both SIC and CIC for same RTI application?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Punjab and Haryana High Court in which he referred to a complaint made to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against one of the judges and wanted to know about the action taken on that complaint.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the appellant had already exhausted the remedy available to him by filing a second appeal before the Punjab State Information Commission (SIC) and therefore, he could not agitate the same matter before the CIC. The appellant admitted that he had taken this matter in second appeal before the Punjab State Information Commission which they had rejected.
View of CIC
The Commission agreed with the respondent and held that if the appellant has already filed a second appeal before another Commission, then he cannot raise the matter once again in second appeal before the CIC. The Commission noted that the Supreme Court had stayed an order of the CIC directing the disclosure of similar information in the past and the stay still continues. The CIC noted that the Supreme Court has referred the matter to a larger bench to decide whether information relating to the Collegium proceedings and to the complaints against judges should be disclosed in the public domain under RTI. Thus the information cannot be provided to the appellant.
It is apparent that the appellant had wrongly filed an appeal to the State Information Commission (SIC) as a replacement for going to the CIC in the first place. The SIC could have forwarded the appeal to the CIC. Further, rather than going into the technicalities of the issue, the CIC could have decided the case on merits instead of deciding the case on other criteria.
Citation: Mr. Sudhir Singh Bhinder v. Punjab & Haryana High Court in File No. CIC/WB/A/2010/000954SM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1201
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