CIC: citizens have no right to repeat information request under the RTI
It has been reported in the newspapers that the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled the citizens have no right to repeat the same or similar or slightly altered information request under the RTI Act, 2005, for which he already got a response. The bench of information commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu was analyzing the objectives of the RTI Act and interpretations given by other information commissioners.
As per M. Sridhar Acharyulu, once an information is posted by the public authority in public domain, such information is deemed to have ceased to be ‘held’ by the public authority. He has ruled that an applicant or appellant repeating the RTI application or appeal either once or multiple times, suppressing the fact of earlier application and receipt of the answer, the CPIO of the public authority may reject it forthwith after intimating it along with reasons.
While this order may aid a CPIO who is hassled by repeated RTI application on a similar issue, it opens up possibility of denial of information without any legal basis by the public authority. The most important question is under which rule / section has the order been passed by the CIC? It appears to be a case of overshooting the limits of law by the CIC. This order can lead to a situation where new interpretations may be made of the law which was hitherto not intended and hence needs reconsideration.