Information pertaining to representation to Dr. Hari Singh Gour University for advance increment given to the faculty was denied claiming that the matter is subjudice before the Apex Court - CIC: RTI Act provides no exemption of sub-judice matters
Information pertaining appellant’s representation to Dr. Hari Singh Gour University for advance increment given to the faculty was denied claiming that the matter is subjudice before the Hon’ble Apex Court - CIC: The RTI Act provides no exemption from disclosure requirements of sub-judice matters; The only exemption for subjudice matters is regarding what has been expressly forbidden disclosure by a court or a tribunal and what may constitute contempt of court
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an online RTI application dated 25.02.2019 seeking attested copy of note sheet/ document for action taken against his application submitted in the office of Registrar of Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar regarding granting and paying advance increment for Ph.D degree fulfilling all conditions of UGC Letter F. No. 28-9/2018(PS/Misc) dated 7 Dec 2018 and same adopted by Dr Hari Singh Gour University in the 23rd Meeting of Executive Council.
The CPIO replied to the Appellant on 25.02.2019 stating that RTI application has been forwarded/transferred to the concerned PIO for information and the information would be furnished to the Appellant soon after receiving the same from concerned PIO.
Being dissatisfied, the Appellant filed a First Appeal dated 28.03.2019. FAA’s order dated 14.05.2019 directed the CPIO, Director/ Assistant Registrar, DOFA to furnish the required information to the Appellant within 15 days. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the non-compliance of FAA’s order, Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio-conference.
Respondent: Represented by Sanotsh Sohgaura, Registrar & FAA present through audio- conference.
The Appellant explaining the background of the case stated that he filed the RTI application seeking information pertaining to his representation for advance increment given to the faculty as he is one the faculty member of the University. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the CPIO’s reply and stated that no information has been provided by the CPIO in compliance of FAA’s order.
Rep. of CPIO submitted that in compliance of FAA’s order, RTI application was forwarded to the Assistant Registrar (DOFA) on 24.01.2020 to provide the information sought; however no reply was received in this regard till date. He further submitted issue concerning the averred application of Appellant is subjudice before the Hon’ble Apex Court and therefore, the information sought cannot be provided to the Appellant at this stage.
The Commission based upon a perusal of facts on record and after hearing submission of both the parties observes that denial of information on the plea that concerning matter is sub-judice before Hon’ble Court of Law could not be a sole ground for denying disclosure of information under the RTI Act, 2005. Moreover, the Rep. of CPIO could not substantiate or justify their stand on nondisclosure of information under any of the specific provisions of Section 8 or Section 9 of the RTI Act, 2005. In this context the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. R.K. Jain in W.P. (C) 14120/ 2009 dated 23.09.2010 can be cited:
“5...........The matter being sub judice before a court is not one of the categories of information which is exempt from disclosure under any of the clauses of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.”
Similarly, this Commission in its decision in Mr. Ashu v. CPIO/ Sr. Supdt of Posts, Department of Posts in CIC/BS/A/2015/001578/11769 dated 28.11.2016 had held as under:
“At the outset it is clarified that the RTI Act provides no exemption from disclosure requirements of sub-judice matters. The only exemption for subjudice matters is regarding what has been expressly forbidden disclosure by a court or a tribunal and what may constitute contempt of court.”
In view of foregoing observations, the CPIO is directed to provide a revised reply along with a copy of readily available averred note sheet as sought for in the instant RTI Application, free of cost through speed/ registered post to the Appellant. The said direction should be complied by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under due intimation to the Commission.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mayank Agarwal v. CPIO, Dr. Harisingh Gour University in File No : CIC/DHGVV/A/2019/644615, Date of Decision: 13/05/2021