Public authorities must have adequate mechanism to deal with RTI applications
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MI&B) and Ministry of Communication seeking information relating to the mobile services offered by various companies and the frequencies at which they operate. The RTI application was transferred to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The Public Information Officer (PIO) of DoT provided some information.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that the information was provided but beyond the stipulated period. The respondent submitted that the delay has occurred due to transfer of the RTI application to the PIO of the concerned department. The respondents representing the Department of Telecommunications submitted that the RTI application on transfer had been received in the office of the PIO of the Department who in turn had further distributed the application among the relevant PIOs. In the process some time was lost. They further submitted that they had not taken more time than stipulated and had provided the information soon after they received the RTI application.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that all the available material information has been provided. The CIC also held that several queries in the RTI application do not warrant any information as they are in the nature of seeking general knowledge about the telecom sector in general and the operation of mobile services in particular. Such knowledge can be acquired by studying the relevant scientific / technical literature on the subject. The Commission observed that the submissions made by the respondents regarding the delay reflects poorly on the arrangements made for dealing with RTI applications in the Department. The CIC ruled that all the RTI applications must be forwarded to the respective divisions holding the information without any loss of time because the stipulated period of 30 days is counted from the date on which the RTI application reaches the PIO of any public authority. Large public authorities like the Department of Telecommunications must have adequate mechanism in place to deal with large number of RTI applications they must be receiving on a regular basis.
Citation: Mr. Mahender Kumar v. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Communication in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/001146
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1081
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