Should a PIO comment on the decision taken by the PIO of another pubic authority?
The appellant had earlier filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation. The Public Information Officer (PIO) refused to disclose the desired information on the ground that the matter was subjudice before the Supreme Court of India. Later the appellant filed an RTI application with the Supreme Court of India seeking to know whether the Supreme Court of India had specifically given any direction not to disclose any information about the matter. The PIO informed him about the status of the two cases pending before the Supreme Court and stated that only a show cause notice had been issued in the case till this period but the reply was still awaited.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that as per the provisions of section 8(1)(b) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; of the RTI Act only that information would be exempt from disclosure which a court would expressly forbid to publish. Therefore, he wanted to know if the Supreme Court of India had given any such direction in this matter. The respondent pointed out that the PIO had already informed about the status of the case according to which the Court had only issued show cause notice in both the matters pending before it and had received no reply from the parties concerned until that date.
View of CIC
The Commission noted that the PIO of the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation not referred to any express direction of the Supreme Court not to disclose the information, he only taken the plea that the matter was subjudice. The CIC also added that as the view taken by the PIO is right or wrong is to be decided by the Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission if the appellant choose to file any second appeal before them. The Commission rejected the appeal stating that the PIO of the Supreme Court of India cannot comment on the decision of the PIO, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation.
Citation: Mr. Vidhyadhar Pandey v. Supreme Court of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001527
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1186
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