It is not enough to describe the information in generic and universal terms in RTI application
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) seeking information on variety of issues relating to the environmental impact of various gases and materials on the people and the wildlife of Delhi. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided some information to the appellant.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that all the reports commissioned by the CPCB were routinely published in their website and could be downloaded by any citizen and that the same was communicated in the reply of the PIO. The appellant submitted that the correspondence made with various authorities in Delhi including the police regarding the environmental safety aspects of the business in fireworks was not provided to him.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO to provide the copies of any such correspondence if made. The CIC held that was per section 6(1) of the RTI Act, the applicant is required to specify the information he needs. The term information is defined in 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; as material record, therefore while seeking information a citizen must specifically indicate the kind of record he needs. It is not enough to describe the information in any generic and universal terms and expect the PIO to do research and find out which record would contain any answer to the query. The Commission also ruled that the CPCB should publish from time to time, the entire list of its publications including the reports in the website for the information of the public. If any of those publications is priced and can be obtained from anywhere, those details should also be published so that people do not have to resort to RTI to get copies of those.
Citation: Mr. Rakesh Kumar v. Central Pollution Control Board in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001689
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1062
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission