Using RTI for information regarding returns pending for scrutiny with the Central Excise
The applicant sought information in respect of returns pending (for more than three months) for scrutiny in Lucknow and Kanpur Commissionerate. He sought the information in particular formats devised by him, in which he sought information as to why no action has been taken against the responsible Superintendents. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information in terms of section 2(j) “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to- (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device; of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and also held that the appellant was gathering a variety of information from the PIO to redress his own grievances with the Department pertaining to a Disciplinary case against him. The First Appellate authority (FAA) held that under the provisions of the RTI Act, information could be supplied only if the request met the definition of ‘information’ under section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act and not otherwise. He further noted that the PIO was not obliged to create information to generate data for a petitioner’s convenience.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the public authority has no obligation to create information and provide to the appellant and the respondent public authority can only provide information as is held by them. The Commission, however, directed the PIO to provide an opportunity to the appellant to inspect the relevant files.
Citation: Mr. Jaswant Singh v. Office of the Commissioner of Central Excise & Service Tax in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/000959
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/550
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