Madras HC stays Tamil Nadu SIC order to provide information
Hearing a writ petition filed by the Registrar General of the Madras High Court, a division bench comprising Justice P Jyothimani and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan has stayed the May 15, 2012 order of the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (SIC). The Tamil Nadu SIC had directed the registrar-general of the Madras HC to furnish copies of a writ petition filed in 1988 and counter-affidavit filed in the matter along with the final orders to an RTI applicant.
In response to a RTI application, the Assistant Public Information Officer replied in April last year that copies of the writ petition, counter-affidavit filed in the matter along with the final orders could be sought by making an application to the copyist department in the court. In response to another application filed under the RTI Act, identical reply was sent in December 2011. However, the applicant submitted a fresh RTI application on seeking the documents on December 23, 2011. After the pleas were not considered, he approached the Tamil Nadu SIC.
In the petition, the Registrar General contended that the SIC had erred in entertaining the appeal, as the earlier applications were dealt in accordance with law. The Madras High Court Appeal Rules have a provision for obtaining copies of documents pertaining to cases filed in the court which the applicant was expected to follow.
Can an applicant be expected to follow a particular procedure for obtaining information if there is an alternate remedy available?