Issue of non-official photo passes by Ministry of Home Affairs
The appellant sought the action taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the application of Pr. Secretary, Indian Newspaper and Journalist Society, for issuance of non-official photo pass/Identity Card. He also sought the name, organization and mobile number in respect of persons to whom MHA had issued photo pass since the year 2009 and the basis of issuance of non-official photo pass/ Identity Card by the MHA. The appellant filed an appeal before the Central Information Commission (CIC) on the grounds of deemed refusal by the respondent.
During the hearing the respondent submitted that as per existing guidelines MHA, Non-Official Identity Card/Photo Passes are issued to senior most office bearers of reputed public limited companies, national level confederation/ association of industries, national level sectoral association, NGOs and National level institutions. Since the case was not covered under any guidelines for issue of Identity Card, the applicant was asked to apply for Press Information Bureau (PIB) Card issued by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). The PIB cards are issued to Correspondents of the Press Information Bureau and to facilitate their access to the Government Building under MHA Security Cover, their PIB Card is accredited by MHA. The respondent also submitted that some of the queries in the RTI application was prefixed with why and what and since such queries do not come within the ambit of section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act, they were not replied to. However for rest of the queries the appellant was requested to obtain the information after depositing the additional fee, which the appellant failed to do.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that as per provisions of the RTI Act, information held by the Public Authority in material form has to be provided to the information seeker, unless such information is denied under one of the exemption provisions of the RTI Act. The information cannot be denied merely because the appellant has prefixed his query with why and what. The Commission directed the PIO to provide the action taken on application for issue of non-official photo pass as well as the reasons for rejection of application, as per record.
Citation: Shri S.P. Gupta v. Ministry of Home Affairs (Security) in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/000395
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/417
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission