Should PIO collect information from another public authority about the action taken?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the President’s Secretariat seeking to know the action taken on his representation regarding the legal advice of the President with a view to approaching the Supreme Court for changing certain recruitment rules. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed that his petition had been forwarded to the Secretary, Ministry of Defence, for further necessary action and that he should approach that Ministry directly.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant argued that if the PIO did not have any information to offer he should have transferred his RTI application under the provisions of section 6(3) of the RTI Act to the Defence Ministry or should have collected the information from there and provided to him. The respondent submitted that the appellant wanted to know about the action taken and the PIO had informed him about whatever action the President Secretariat had taken on the said petition.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the President Secretariat normally forwards the petitions received from the citizens to various other authorities for further necessary action and in almost all such cases does not call for any action taken report. Therefore, all that they can inform in such cases is about the date on which the original petition had been forwarded and the name of the authority to which it was forwarded. The CIC added that the appellant knows that his petition had been sent to the Defence Ministry and should have found the further outcome from that Ministry. The Commission also stated that it is not within the duties of the PIO to collect any information about the action taken from another public authority and provide. However, the CIC directed the PIO of the President Secretariat to transfer his RTI application to his counterpart in the Defence Ministry.
Citation: Mr. Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi v. President’s Secretariat in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000983