SIC penalises RTI applicant for filing over 100 applications
The State Information Commission (SIC) of Andhra Pradesh has penalised a citizen hailing from Navapala village in Anantapur district for exercising his right to information too frequently.
The verdict came when the commission was hearing a case that the applicant had filed with the commission after getting six unsatisfactory responses from the agriculture department for his applications filed under the Right to information (RTI) Act.
During the hearing, it turned out that the applicant had filed over 100 RTI applications over past few years, all with the department of agriculture, seeking to get extensive information regarding the department’s operations, schemes and the benefits extended to the farmers.
However, the information commissioner termed him a ‘nuisance’ to the department and granted exemption to the public information officer from disclosing further information to the applicant citing an old court order and Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act which exempts from its ambit any information which has no relationship to public interest. The information commissioner P Vijaya Babu observed that the information demanded was extensive and voluminous and also questioned the motive of the applicant behind so many applications.
The RTI activists, criticizing the verdict, have lodged a formal complaint with the governor against the IC and are preparing to appeal for review petition. The RTI Act does not say anything about rejecting applications based on motives or the number of applications filed by an individual.,