Withholding info under RTI Act violation of fundamental right: CIC
‘Dispose Of PSA Application Within 30 Days’
Srinagar, June 14: In a significant judgment, the Chief Information Commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir GR Sufi has ruled that prohibiting disclosure of any information under the Right to Information Act-2009 without any justification is a violation of a fundamental right. The CIC asked the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to dispose of an appeal filed by an applicant seeking information about Public Safety Act (PSA) detentions within 30 days.
Khurram Parvez of Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) had filed an application under RTI Act - 2009 in the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir seeking information about detentions under PSA in the Valley during the past two decades. Later the Public Information Officer of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir forwarded the application to DC office Srinagar on January 20 this year.
However, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, then PIO, refused to disclose the information invoking Section 8 of the Act. The Deputy Commissioner, who happens to be First Appellate Authority, also rejected the application citing same grounds.
After hearing both sides, the State Information Commission said that the "FAA was duty bound to pass well –reasoned order which will be justifiable.” “(But) no such attempt has been made,” the judgment reads.
It reads that PIO and FAA cannot summarily reject the application by invoking section 8 of the RTI Act, without citing solid reasons.
“The PIO and for that matter the FAA under the State RTI Act have to act not in an executive manner and thus summarily reject the appellant’s request for information – the right which has been given to the residents of the State under Section 3 of the Act,” it reads.
The judgment says that the right of getting information has been equated with the fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution of India which has been adopted by the State Legislature in its constitution promulgated in 1957.
“Therefore, denying the information under Section 8 without assigning the justifiable reasons is denial of fundamental right,” the judgment reads.
The CIC has referred the appeal back to FAA asking him to dispose of it within period of 30 days.
“The Commission considers it proper and just to restore back the 1st appeal to the FAA with the direction that he has to pass an order after giving due opportunity of being heard to the appellant and after duly taking into consideration whether the disclosure of information with regard to arrest of any citizen and his subsequent detention under an Act is so dangerous that it will affect national security. The appeal has to be disposed of within 30 days from the receipt of this order,” the order reads.
“The appellant has also brought to the notice of this commission that 9 other districts from whom the information was sought on the same issue have provided full/part information,” it further reads.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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Srinagar, June 14: In a significant judgment, the Chief Information Commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir GR Sufi has ruled that prohibiting disclosure of any information under the Right to Information Act More
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