New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has struck down the rules framed by the Chief Information Commissioner on procedure for deciding appeals before it under the RTI, saying the CIC has no power to enact such regulations under the transparency law.
"The Chief Information Commissioner has no powers to make rules under the RTI Act. Both the `appropriate government` and the `competent authority` have been empowered by the Rules to make rules to carry out provisions of the Act," a bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Veena Birbal said.
"The CIC by formulating the regulations and prescribing the procedure for deciding appeals, has clearly violated the provisions of the RTI Act," it said.
The order was passed on a plea of DDA seeking quashing of Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007 enacted by the Commissioner to decide procedure for special appeals before itself.
The court said the Act did not empower the CIC to make any regulations encroaching upon the subject matter of the rule-making power of other public bodies and the regulations had been framed in complete derogation of the provisions of the RTI Act.
While deciding on the appeal, the bench also ruled that the Commission has no mandate to appoint committee having outside members to inquire into whether public body complied with the transparency law.
Interpreting the provisions of the Act, dealing with powers and functions of the Commissions, the court said "It is apparent that the inquiry that is contemplated under the Act is an inquiry by the Information Commission itself. There is no provision for an inquiry to be conducted by any other committee for and on behalf of the Information Commission."
"There is nothing prescribed either in the Act or the Rules made thereunder, whereby the Central Information Commission could be said to have been empowered to delegate
its power of inquiry to some other person or a committee of persons," it said.