Friday, September 19, 2014

Ruling on SIC’s role in dealing with appeals

Ruling on SIC’s role in dealing with appeals

MADURAI, September 19, 2014

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

The State Information Commission (SIC) must enquire into second appeals filed before it under the Right to Information Act, 2005, by issuing notices to the officials and not dispose them of mechanically by asking them to reconsider the applicants’ requests, the Madras High Court Bench here has held.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by an RTI applicant, Justice T.S. Sivagnanam directed the SIC to issue notice to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB), who had reportedly not provided the exact information sought for by the petitioner. The judge pointed out that the petitioner had filed his RTI application on August 31, 2013. The PIO of TRB replied to it on September 28, 2013. But not satisfied with the reply, the petitioner went on appeal to the first appellate authority in the TRB. It was not considered for long and hence he preferred a second appeal on December 16.

The SIC forwarded the second appeal to the Chairman of TRB with a direction to treat it as a first appeal. The petitioner objected to the methodology adopted by the SIC by making representations on several occasions. But he did not receive a positive response and hence the present writ petition.

The petitioner said the only option available for the SIC while dealing with the second appeal was to enquire into the matter and impose penalty on the officials for not providing the exact information or to recommend disciplinary action against them. The SIC was not empowered to forwarding the second appeal to treat it as a first appeal.


Also read the Full Text of the Judgment is at: http://goo.gl/GtmVMv

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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