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CIC Instructed Department of Justice to Organise Seminar/Conference for CPIOs

CIC Instructed Department of Justice to Organise Seminar/Conference for CPIOs
- Aditya Sinha, SLS Nagpur

The Appellant vide his RTI application has sought information on 05 points regarding the unstarred questions no 2187 replied by the Hon’ble Minister for State for Law and Justice and Corporate Affairs on 05/01/2018 in the Rajya Sabha proceedings, copy of govt request to Chief Justice of High courts for providing due consideration to SC, ST candidate and copies of received replies. 

Distressed by non-reply, the appellant has filed appeal before the commission and reiterated that points in RTI application were not replied by CPIO with required information without any reasonable grounds. The commission observed that RTI Act, 2005 stipulates time limits in its various provisions relating to responding to RTI Applications, transfer of applications, filing and disposing of first appeal to ensure that a culture of information dissemination is strengthened so that a robust functioning of the democracy gets established. 

In Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission, the Delhi HC has provided that information seekers should not be driven away through sheer inaction or filibustering tactics of the public authorities or their officers. The time limits provided for dissemination of information should be adhered with for effective functioning. 

In J P Aggarwal v. Union of India, the Delhi HC had ruled that PIO has the pivotal responsibility to ensure that information sought should be delivered within the statutory requirements of the Act. 

In Shri Vivek Mittal v. B.P. Srivastava, it was opined that CPIO exercises greater responsibility in ensuring that provisions of the act should be duly complied with requirements. 

The commission opined that it should be endeavour on the behalf of CPIO to provide maximum assistance to RTI applicants. The commission also referred to orders of Department of Personal and Training which requires that responsibility of a public information officer of any public authority extends to providing necessary help to the information seeker whenever necessary.

The Commission instructed to the Respondent First Appellate Authority, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice to examine the RTI Application/ First Appeal and provide a clear, cogent and precise response to the Appellant within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order.

The Commission instructed Respondent Public Authority to conduct periodic seminars/conferences to make PIOs more familiar with provisions of RTI Act 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities.

[Venkatesh Nayak v. CPIO & Secy., Ministry of Law and Justice, CIC/JUSTC/A/2018/153653-BJ, decided on 24-07-2020]