PIO should not club different RTI applications filed by same applicant
The appellant referred to a research paper published jointly by few people and filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare seeking information regarding that paper. He wanted to know whether the Government of India was aware of the publication. He also wanted to know the views of the Government on the findings in the paper and if the views were validated as per the conclusions drawn in the paper. The Public Information Officer (PIO) stated that the Supreme Court had given directions to the ASG for instructing the concerned Ministries to approach National Institute of Public Health to undertake a comprehensive analysis and study of the contents of Gutka, Tobacco, Pan Masala, etc. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) also stated that since the appellant was an intervener in the matter and fully aware of the fact, the query raised by the appellant was unnecessary.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that the PIO dealt with 20 RTI applications in one go rather than one by one and the FAA disposed of the appeal in 85 days without giving reasons of delay. The appellant further contended that the FAA has not given hard facts/information of each and every research paper mentioned in separate RTI applications and has given his personal opinion in a general manner. The respondent clarified that the report prepared by NIHFW had been submitted before the Supreme Court and the Government had made its position clear before the Court, supporting this report thereby making its position clear on the matter and the appellant was duly apprised accordingly in the response.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the appellant’s contention that the PIO did not pass separate orders on his appeals is valid and remains unexplained by the PIO. The CIC directed the PIO to dispose of RTI applications in separate orders in future. The Commission also issued a show cause notice to the FAA to clarify as to why he did not decide the appeal in the prescribed period of 30 days.
Citation: Shri Sanjay Bechan v. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in File No.CIC/LS/A/2012/002818
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1015
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