What should a PIO do if the RTI application is unintelligible?
The Central Information Commission (CIC) had issued a show cause notice to the Public Information Officer (PIO), Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to explain why there was a delay in responding to the Right to Information (RTI) application.
During the show cause hearing before the CIC, the PIO submitted that the delay was caused because the RTI application was not very intelligible and there were a large number of enclosures making it very difficult for the office to decipher the exact nature of the information sought. He further submitted that it was in this process that much time was lost and eventually it was found that the subject matter itself did not concern their office and this was exactly what the PIO had informed the appellant.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) perused the RTI application and observed that the application was very clumsily drafted, mostly handwritten and in a rather meandering style. The Commission held that it was not surprising that the PIO and his office found it difficult to make any sense out of it. The CIC dropped the penalty proceeding and accepted the explanation given by the PIO. The Commission also advised the PIO that when an unintelligible application is received, the best course is promptly to return it to the information seeker asking him to specify the exact information sought rather than to sit over it indefinitely.
Citation: Mr. Sanjay S Shanbagh V. Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Director General of Audit in File No. CIC/SM/A/2011/002630
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/849
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission