Madras High Court reviews its views - reasons not required for filing RTI application
The division bench of Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and K Ravichandrabaabu of the Madras High Court has withdrawn its general observations with regard to the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and has reviewed the order passed on September 17. Accepting that the observations were made without noticing Section 6(2) of the RTI Act, the bench took up the case yesterday and passed an order.
Amidst criticism, the bench suo-motu took up the matter and passed orders on September 23, saying that in the September 17 order, “we have made certain general observations in paragraphs 20 and 21 stating that the RTI application should contain bare minimum details or reasons for which the information is sought for. However, the said general observations were made without noticing Section 6(2) of the RTI Act.”
Referring to section 6(2), the bench said that an applicant is not required to give any reason for making the request. “Hence, the general observations made in paragraphs 20 and 21 of the said order is an error apparent on the fact of the record, contrary to the statutory provisions. The said error has been noticed by us after pronouncing the order dated September 17 and in order to rectify the said error..., we directed the Registry yesterday (September 22) to post this matter today under the caption suo-motu review.’’
The net outcome of the review is that the general observations made in the order dated September 17 which said that an applicant is supposed to provide reasons for filing an application under the RTI Act (and is against the existing provisions of the RTI Act) stand removed. However, regarding disclosure of the file notings in respect of action taken following a complaint against an advocate, the bench had taken a view that the matter is sub-judice and pending before the High Court in Crl.O.P.No.18804 of 2010. Therefore, the applicant is not entitled to get any information with regard to the proceedings pending before the Court of Law and if at all he wants any document relating to the pending case/cases, he has to only apply for certified copy and obtain the same in terms of the Rules framed by the High Court. Since the complaint of Bharathi regarding the action taken against inclusion of Ms.Geetha Ramaseshan as Advocate in Crl.O.P.No.18804 of 2010 has been put up along with the case bundle, which is pending before Court, the PIO is precluded from furnishing any information. There has been no change in the view of the bench regarding this issue. Further, the bench has stood by the order in respect of the other points decided in the matter.