Is there any definition of the term 'RTI activist'?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking information regarding the murder of RTI activists and other related issues. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided a list of 14 persons supposed to be RTI activists who had been murdered in the past and pointed out that the Department did not have any other information as desired.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent pointed out that the DoPT did not collect or compile information on the reported offence against information seekers under the RTI and therefore they did not have any such information with them. The Commission noted that in the absence of any statutory definition of an RTI activist it is impossible for anybody conclusively to attribute any offence against an individual as an offence against an RTI activist. It is only after the law courts decide such cases and conclude that the offence was motivated by the fact that the victim sought any particular type of information that it should be possible to attribute the offence as exclusively against an information seeker.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the Department concerned did not have the desired information on this subject and that the law and order issues fall in the domain of the State Governments. Therefore all such information should be available with the respective State Government public authorities. The CIC rejected the appeal holding that DoPT did not collect or compile information on the reported offence against information seekers under the RTI and therefore did not have any such information with them.
The Commission further added that the authorities concerned should devise preventive ways so that citizens can seek information without any fear from any quarter and wherever any offence is committed against an individual information seeker the state authorities should take quick and decisive action to bring the offenders to book.
Citation: Mr. Parteek Choudhary v. Department of Personnel and Training in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000405
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/850
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