BCI directed to furnish annual report in compliance with RTI Act

Central Information Commission (CIC): While reprimanding the Bar Council of India (BCI) for not complying with mandatory disclosure clause in S. 4(1)(b) RTI Act, CIC directed BCI to furnish an annual report in compliance with the said clause. CIC also observed that the non-disclosure by BCI is a major breach of RTI by the prestigious organization. Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act requires every public authority to maintain  a set of 17 specified categories of information concerning the functioning of the authority,  which must be published on its website, and through other methods, on an annual basis. Earlier an RTI applicant filed an application before BCI seeking information relating to inspection of all law colleges, universities and institutions and other meetings by the members of the BCI during the period from April 1, 2010 to 2015. Being unsatisfied by the responses provided by CIO and FAA, the applicant approached the Commission. BCI repeatedly contended before the Commission that though they have such information in computer, they have not posted it on website. While pulling up BCI for exhausting 10 years of time in fulfilling their obligation, Commission directed BCI to furnish annual report. However, BCI rejected the request of applicant to provide all the information observing that it involves huge information and unless the appellant focuses on a specific institution or period, which she refused, it would be impossible to furnish the information as there are thousands of colleges. Commission show caused the PIO for this breach of RTI and also directed the Chairman, BCI to file an affidavit explaining when they would be complying with 4(1)(b) on their official website. While concluding the judgment, CIC noted that if all the responses were not provided to the Commission by May 9, 2016, “Commission will be compelled to initiate appropriate action against the Chairman, BCI for non-compliance of section 4(1)(b). [K.R. Chitra v. Bar Council of India, CIC/SA/A/2016/000023, decided on April 7, 2016]

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