Taking a serious view of government offices getting bogged down by RTI applications that seek information not related to them, the Central Information Commission has ruled that the offices of President, Prime Minister, Governors, Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Generals are not legally obliged under the RTI Act to entertain applications seeking information unrelated to them or not held or controlled by them.
The CIC said this in its verdict dated July 29, 2016 in a matter in which it found that the petitioner, who had a PhD degree, had misused the office of the Lt Governor of Delhi like a “post office” by seeking information relating to the Directorate of Education, Delhi Government.
“The applicants do not have any right to information which is not held or controlled by these high offices,” CIC M. Sridhar Acharyulu said in the verdict in the matter 'R.S. Gupta vs. Lt. Governor’s Office (Delhi)’.
However, the CIC ruled that if these offices of apex executive authorities create infrastructure to help these applicants, at least by transferring their applications by email or by other mean convenient to them, they are welcome. “But the CPIOs cannot be subjected to first and second appeals under the RTI Act, in such cases,” it said.
The full bench of the CIC discussed the propriety and legality of the RTI application filed before the LG’s office, and felt that the applicant had filed the RTI request without any justification before the Lieutenant Governor, compelling his office to transfer it, and use its resources to attend to first and second appeals without any relevance or necessity.
“This is sheer waste of public money and time of public authority including that of this Commission. Instead of creating a good governance system, this practice is creating a bad and an aimless exercise burdening the public exchequer. The Commission disapproves this practice,” the CIC said in its order.