Delhi HC advocates the powers of CIC to conduct an inquiry by itself
While hearing the petition filed by the Tourism Ministry, the Delhi High Court had said that since the Central Information Commission has powers to direct disclosure of information it would also have jurisdiction to direct an inquiry into the matter wherever the public information officer claims that the file was untraceable. The ministry had gone to the High Court claiming that the CIC had no powers under the RTI Act to direct the government to conduct an inquiry.
The Delhi High Court has advocated the powers of the Central Information Commission to conduct an inquiry by itself. The Commission can even ask the concerned department to track the missing files under the Right to Information Act and fix the responsibility of the officers responsible for the files that go missing.
The court had pronounced that the cases where the information sought could not be traced, appropriate departmental action should be taken against the officials responsible and accountability should be fixed. This would prevent the denial of information by the departments, which otherwise is not exempted from disclosure.
The order can have broader consequences as the CIC had questioned the claim of missing files in the controversial cases like the coal scam.