Did the Assistant Registrar, Delhi seek permission from the government for filing a petition in High Court against CIC order? - PIO denied information u/s 8(1)(b) - CIC: information cannot be denied merely because the matter is subjudice before the court
Appellant asked whether the Assistant Registrar, Delhi sought permission from the government for filing a petition in High Court against CIC order? - PIO denied information u/s 8(1)(b) - FAA directed to provide the information - CIC: only the information which has been expressly forbidden by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of Court can only be denied to the RTI applicants - information cannot be denied by the PIO merely on the grounds that the matter is subjudice before the High Court
Shri Mohan Vidhani hereinafter called the Appellant has filed the present appeal dated 08.2.2013 before the Commission against the respondent Registrar of Trade Marks, Delhi. The Appellant was absent whereas respondent were represented by Shri Yogesh Bali (Sr. Examiner) /CPIO and the then CPIO-Shri Jai Prakash (Sr. Examiner).
2. The Appellant through the RTI application dated 14.08.2012 sought information on following 6 points as follows:
“(1) Whether Ms. Premlata (Assistant Registrar, Delhi) had sought permission from the CG/Ministry for filing WP (C) No.2458 of 2012 in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi against CIC orders and others;
(2) If the answer to question No:1 is in affirmative then whether the permission was granted to her;
(3) If the answer to question No.1 is negative whether CG/Ministry is aware of the same and whether any action has been taken for not seeking permission;
(4) Whether Ms. Premlata (Assistant Registrar Delhi) had sought permission from the office for filing L.P.A No:444 of 2012 in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi against the CIC and other;
(5) If the answers to question No:4 is affirmative then Whether permission was granted to her;
(6) If the answer to question No:4 is in negative whether CG/Ministry is aware of the same and whether any action has been taken for not seeking permission”.
The CPIO Mumbai Branch vide letter No: TMR/RTI/2005/435/1213/ 677 & 678 dated 31.08.2012 transferred the RTI application to the DCPIO Delhi Branch for providing requisite information directly to the appellant.
3. Aggrieved with the reply from CPIO-Mumbai Branch, the Appellant filed first appeal before the FAA. The FAA vide his order No. TMR/RTI/2012- 2013/First Appeal/04/01 dated 18.10.2012 observed that the CPIO, Mumbai has not provided the information till now to the appellant. The FAA directed the CPIO/Mumbai to provide the required information to the appellant within 15 days.
4. In compliance with the directions of the FAA, the CPIO, Trade Marks Registry (TMR). Mumbai informed the appellant that his application has been sent to TMR Delhi to take necessary action. Thereafter, the CPIO, TMR, New Delhi vide letter No. IP/RTI/Oct/12/737/942 informed the appellant that the matter is sub-judice before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. At this stage information sought by the appellant is not in larger public interest and advised the appellant to seek information only after disposal of the matter by the High Court.
5. During hearing before the Commission, the CPIO-Delhi Branch submits that the matter is sub judice due to which information cannot be provided at this stage.
6. As per Section 8(1) (b) of the RTI Act, the information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of Court can only be denied to the RTI applicants. In the instant case the information was denied by the CPIO on the grounds that the matter is subjudice before the High Court. Therefore, the Commission hereby directs the CPIO, Trade Marks Registry, New Delhi to provide point-wise information as per record to the appellant. The CPIO will comply with the directions of the Commission within two weeks of receipt of this order. The matter is disposed of on the part of the Commission with above directions/observations.
Citation: Shri Mohan Vidhani v. Registrar of Trade Marks in Case No.CIC/SS/A/2013/000513