Law Ministry advice not in fiduciary capacity: CIC
New Delhi: The advice tendered by Law and
Justice Ministry to various government departments is not in
fiduciary capacity and should not be withheld from public on
that ground, the Central Information Commission has held.
The transparency panel was hearing a plea of RTI
applicant Rajiv Ranjan Verma seeking to know the advice
tendered by the Law Ministry to Personnel Department on action
sought against an IAS probationer.
"The Commission shall take this opportunity to clarify
that the records of any advice/opinion tendered by the
Respondent Ministry to other government departments do not
fall under the category of information available to the Law
Ministry in fiduciary capacity," Information Commissioner
Sushma Singh said.
The Law Ministry had refused to disclose the advice
saying it is held by the department from where the file has
originated. It said the ministry gives advice on the file
received by it which is returned to the department concerned.
While replying, the Central Public Information Officer
also said that advice tendered by the Ministry is given in
fiduciary capacity and hence cannot be disclosed as per
provisions of the RTI Act.
"The Respondent (Law Ministry) has also mentioned that
the advice tendered by itself to any Department/Ministry is in
the fiduciary capacity," Singh said while directing the
Personnel Department, the concerned department, to provide the
She said neither any exemption clause under Sections
eight or nine of the RTI Act nor any other provision barring
disclosure of information under the Act has been invoked by
the Ministry while making such a remark.
Singh said that the records of any advice or opinion
tendered by Law Ministry to other government departments do
not fall under the category of information available to the
Law Ministry in fiduciary capacity, she said.