Information about words used in the reply to the first RTI application
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information regarding the definition of some words/ phrases mentioned by the First Appellate Authority (FAA) in the order in relation to another RTI application filed by him. He also sought the relevant rule of the RTI Act for depositing prescribed fee. He further asked about the date of receipt of a letter, phone numbers of the Public Information Officer’s (PIO) office & that of the office of the Post Master General (PMG) and the definition of prescribed fee. The Public Information Officer (PIO) did not respond to the application. The FAA informed that instead of filling a second appeal to the Commission, the appellant filed another RTI application asking for some imaginary information or trying to redress his grievance. The FAA also stated that the PIO can only furnish the information which is held by or under the control of public authority.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that he had not been provided proper information to his RTI application and charges have been wrongly demanded for furnishing the information requested in his earlier RTI application. The PIO stated that the information on record has been furnished to the appellant and charges have been demanded for supply of documents as directed by the FAA in his earlier order. The Commission referred to a previous order of Hon’ble Supreme Court in matter of CBSE & Anr. V/s Aditya Bandopadyay & ors. (C.A. No. 6454 of 2011), wherein, the court has held that, “…..Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.”
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that in most of the queries the appellant has sought definition of certain words/ phrases and the opinion of the PIO. The Commission also observed that the FAA has erred in directing the PIO to collect charges for supply of documents in violation of section 7(6) of the RTI Act which stipulates providing of information free of charge where a public authority has failed to comply with the time limit specified in section 7(1). The Commission directed the PIO to provide the information sought by the appellant in his previous RTI application, free of cost. The PIO was also advised to exercise due care to ensure that correct and complete information is furnished timely to the RTI applicants as per provisions of the Act failing which penal proceedings under section 20 may be initiated in future.
In this case, the CIC has directed the disclosure of information sought in previous application, which was not the subject matter of the second appeal.
Citation: Mr. Triloki Prasad Yadav v. Department of Posts, Post Master General in File No.CIC/LS/A/2011/000600/BS/0510
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/672
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission