An RTI epic - RTI Applications consisting of 189 questions
The appellant sought information regarding details about various policy dockets on the premium and other official documents deposited by him from in the year 1992 to 2003 through several points. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided partial information informing that the rest of the information has been destroyed as per the Schedule/circular of G. A. Department H.O. Chennai. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) held that the information sought was voluminous in nature and to collect and compile such information which has been destroyed would only divert the resources of the Public Authority disproportionately.
The appellant submitted before the Central Information Commission (CIC) that complete information has not been given to him by the public authority as the information for the years 1992 - 2003 has been digitalised and must be available. He also argued that the information pertaining to his leave record, Muster roll/ Attendance record, ACR, Leave Travel Subsidy, Underwriting of Foreign Travel MITR Policy (General Insurance System) was also not been provided by the respondents. The respondent submitted that the information was not maintained as it has been destroyed as per the circular issued. The respondent further added that the leave records of the appellant have been lost and the matter regarding the disclosure of the ACRs has been stayed by the Madras High Court.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO to provide specific point wise information to the appellant and to check up again with the technical department about the possibility of regeneration of any information. If the same were not available, the Commission held that the copy of the circular vide which the information sought has been destroyed should be provided. The Commission further directed to check up about the possibility of finding of the leave records, and also directed to check if the disclosure of grading of ACR has not been stayed, the same should be provided to the appellant. The Commission pointed that the appellant had asked 189 questions in his previous two applications. Appellants should understand that RTI Act is a formidable tool to fight corruption in governance; it should not be allowed to be misused or abused to obstruct national development or to settle personal scores.
In the case Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors. CIVIL APPEAL NO.6454 OF 2011, the Supreme Court made comments on the misuse of RTI as under:
“…Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it 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 threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
Citation: Mr. Shashikant Kautik Khairnar v. United India Insurance Co.Ltd in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/001890
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/356
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