Stricture against the Allahabad High Court for its handling of RTI application
The appellant requested the Ministry of Law and Justice to inform him about the action taken on a certain complaint he had made against Mr. SC Kulshrestha, ADJ through in his RTI application. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Ministry belatedly transferred the application to his counterpart in the Allahabad High Court. On the advice of the PIO, the appellant deposited the prescribed application fee. However, the PIO took a considerable time before informing him about the action taken on the said complaint.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant objected to the considerable delay at every stage in providing him the information. He had also serious problems with the manner in which his complaint had been disposed of by the High Court. On being asked to explain the delay, the respondent submitted that it was not deliberate and a lot of time was taken, first, because the information was held by the Administrative Judge in the Lucknow Bench and, secondly, because the information, once received from the Lucknow Bench had to be placed before the Committee of Judges as per the practice followed in the Allahabad High Court.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) stated that the delay in the Allahabad High Court in disposing of RTI applications is a matter of concern and has been pointed in the past in many such orders. The procedure has to be streamlined so that the statutory timelines are not exceeded. The CIC did not intend to impose any penalty in the PIO for the delay in this case and hoped that the competent authority in the High Court would revisit the entire procedure and streamline it in order to avoid such inconvenience to the information seekers and the breach of the statutory timelines. The CIC observed that the High Court is looked upon by the citizens as a model institution upholding the majesty of law and they would be disappointed if it is found to be wanting in implementing such a popular law as the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Citation: Mr. Asharfilal Kulshreshtha v. Allahabad High Court in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002938
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/698
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission