New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has said that a Department of Personnel and Training order allowing single transfer of RTI applications from a public authority to another is "not consistent with law".
In its June 2008 circular on transferring RTI applications, cases in which information is scattered across number of public authorities, the DOPT has said that such transfers can take place only once.
The point was raised by Cabinet Secretariat during a hearing where an RTI applicant Chetan Kothari has sought to know petrol expenses incurred by MPs.
The Cabinet Secretariat had said that information is not maintained centrally and is scattered across different public authorities.
Citing the DOPT order on transfer of application, it asked the applicant to file separate RTI applications with different departments to get the information.
Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, "There are numerous instances where RTI applications have been transferred by one public authority to another and none of them appears to know where the information is."
Gandhi said in this scenario for public authorities to take a position that they will only transfer to one public authority is "unreasonable" and the law does not state this.
"There is nothing in the (RTI) Act which would shows that Parliament intended that the transfer should only be to one public authority.”
"It also appears that DOPT`s office memorandum is in contravention of the General Clauses Act 1987 and interpreted Section 6(3) of the RTI Act wrongly... The Commission rules that DOPT`s office memorandum is not consistent with the law," he said.