Is the misuse of RTI act intimidating the honest government officials?
The appellant had sought the information on 26 paras relating to last ten years, about the officer cadre of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL). During the hearing, the Public Information Officer (PIO) submitted that the requisite information has been collected and can be disclosed to the appellant on payment of fee of Rs. 100/-. The appellant submitted that the PIO has deliberately delayed supply of information and therefore, punitive action should be taken against him.
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The Central Information Commission (CIC) waived off the fee and directed the PIO to disclose the information free of cost stating that there had been a long delay in the supply of information. The Commission also observed that that there has been delay in the supply of information but the fact that the applicant has sought information on 26 paras relating to last ten years cannot be ignored. The Commission cited a Supreme Court’s decision [Central Board of Secondary Education vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay], where the court had held that
RTI Act should not be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The Commission observed that they have to balance the citizens, right to information with the compulsions of the public authorities and that the ends of justice would be meet if the PIO is cautioned to be careful in future in responding to the RTI applications with due diligence and in prescribed time frame.
Citation: Ms. Kusuma v. KIOCL in File No.CIC/LS/A/2011/003767
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/469
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