File separate applications to get info on assets of each legislator – High Court
An application was filed with the office of Lokayukta of Karnataka under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the details of assets and liabilities of all the members of legislative assembly (MLAs) and the members of legislative council (MLCs) in the state.
The public information officer (PIO) of the Lokayukta asked the applicant to file separate applications to get information regarding each MLA and MLC, following which the applicant approached the state information commission. The Karnataka information commission directed the PIO to furnish the requested information to the applicant.
However, as the matter was brought before the High Court of Karnataka, it held that the assets and liabilities statements of all the legislators cannot be assumed to be related to a single matter. It also contended that gathering such details of the 225 MLAs and 75 MLCs in the state would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. The court held that the PIO was justified in asking the applicant to file separate applications in the light of Rule 14 of the RTI rules, which was framed due to problems faced by the PIOs in furnishing information regarding multiple queries in a single application. Hence, setting aside the Information Commission’s order, the court made it clear that only one subject matter should be dealt with in one RTI application.