Is the PIO expected to identify the material record for applicant under RTI?
The appellant filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SBEI) seeking some information. The Public Information Officer (PIO) pointed out that the queries were hypothetical in nature and are in the nature of seeking clarification rather than information. However, the PIO also referred her to some documents including circulars already available in the website of the SEBI having a bearing on the queries.
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The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that section 6(1) of the RTI Act states that the information seeker has to specify the particulars of the information sought while requesting for information, describe the subject matter of the information, specify any other details necessary to identify the records such as, the timeframe, the name of the event or occurrence or the names of the parties involved etc. Merely describing a situation or scenario and then expecting the PIO to find out the corresponding information in material or virtual form is an unfair demand and clearly outside the responsibility cast in the PIO under the RTI Act. The Commission held that the appellant has not specified the exact information she wants and makes extremely roundabout and indirect references which would be difficult for any PIO to interpret or to identify the material record. The CIC also advised the appellant that she must approach the PIO once again, and specify the exact information she wants clearly indicating the timeframe and other markers so that the PIO can identify the material record available and provide the copies thereof.
Citation: Ms. Bina Saha v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000345 & 900424
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/791
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