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Allahabad HC RTI rules not in conformity with Act: CIC

The Central Information Commission has taken strong exception to Allahabad High Court`s rejection of RTI applications.



New Delhi: The Central Information Commission
has taken strong exception to Allahabad High Court`s rejection
of RTI applications which sought details of action on
complaints against judges of sub-ordinate courts on the
grounds that disclosure of such information was not a rule or
practice.

The Right to Information Act allows a public authority to
frame RTI rules for the processing of information sought by
applications. These rules may include fee, process adopted for
the facilitation of information, the officials who need to be
contacted among others.

One such rule of the High Court says, "Notwithstanding
anything contained anywhere in these Rules, the applicant will
be furnished with the information, requested for, if and only
if, the furnishing of such information is not otherwise
against any law or practice."

The rule was cited by the High Court while rejecting the
RTI applications of Onkar Sharma who sought to know the action
taken on his complaint against Civil Judge Veena Chaudhry and
Ajay S Jajodia who wanted details of action initiated on his
complaint against Civil Judge of Varanasi Aniruddha Maurya.

"If...the High Court has established a practice of
refusing such information which would justify recourse to Rule
20 (v), this practice is clearly in violation of the law and
the CPIO is hereby directed to ensure necessary changes in
this practice to bring the management of such records into
compliance with the RTI Act 2005," Chief Information
Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in Sharma`s case.

In the case of Jajodia, Habibullah said, "If, on the other
hand, it has been the practice in the High Court of Allahabad
not to disclose such information this practice is ultra vires
of the RTI Act 2005."

The CIC directed the High Court to bring its rules "in
conformity with" the transparency law. The Commission also
took exception to the fact that the High Court Registrar had
asked Jajodia, the reason for seeking the information.

"The stand taken by the Registrar General, High Court of
Allahabad is in direct contravention of Section 6(2) of the
RTI Act which states without ambiguity ‘An applicant making
request for information shall not be required to give any
reason for requesting the information or any other personal
details except those that may be necessary for contacting
him’," Habibullah said.

He said any information could only be denied if any of the
sub-clauses of section eight to the RTI Act were applicable on
it. The section lists several categories where disclosure is
exempted.

PTI

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