RTI Act provides remedy when authority withholds information with malafide intention or unduly delays

Central Information Commission (CIC): In its recent judgment, the CIC disposed of an appeal seeking relief under Sections 18 and 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The brief facts of the case being that the appellant had filed a RTI application on 29.07.2016 seeking information regarding the total records of files/books etc., seized during the raid on 14.10.1993 by the Income Tax Department, and that the appellant via another RTI application on 29.07.2016 had asked for the same information again.

CPIO in its reply dated 13.01.2017 said that the appellant had sought for the same nature of information in both his applications therefore both the applications were being disposed on the grounds that the information sought by appellant had already been provided earlier in some other RTI application and it was further held by CPIO that the appellant was filing frivolous and vexatious petitions and the resources of the public authority were being disproportionally diverted to respond to such applications and that the information was not sought in public interest but for personal interest. Dissatisfied with the reply of CPIO, the appellant filed  an appeal in the Central Information Commission for redressal.

The Commission referred to various cases wherin it was had held that RTI Act was not the proper law for redressal of grievances/disputes.  The Commission held that the appellant was not able to establish that, the information sought by him was being denied by the CPIO with a malafide intention or that there was a delay of any sort beyond a reasonable time and hence the Commission disposed of the appeal. [S.P. Goyal v. CPO & ITO 17(3)(2), Appeal Number CIC/CCITM/A/2017/125804-BJ+ & CIC/DITIN/A/2017/193921-BJ, decided on 19.12.2017]

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