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Saturday, September 8, 2007

CIC: Don’t seek reason before giving info under RTI

New Delhi: For any “public authority” to ask for reasons before disclosing information under the Right to Information Act is against the spirit of the legislation, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.
The commission Bench headed by information commissioner O P Kejariwal has expressed surprise over a Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) circular prohibiting disclosure of its recruitment results to anyone except the candidates concerned.
“The commission stands surprised at the circular because it seems to be against the spirit of the RTI Act which in no way lays down that the respondents (public authorities) will ask the appellant (information seekers) for reasons for disclosure of any information or his locus standi in the case,” it observed in a recent order.
Amitava Choudhury, a resident of Howrah in West Bengal, had moved an RTI application with South-Eastern Railway seeking inspection of files and records relating to selection for the post of train ticket collector through an examination held on May 23, 2003.
The application was forwarded to RRB, Kolkata and it had denied inspection of the details on the ground that Choudhury did not have a locus standi in the matter.
The RRB during the hearing, supported its claim by producing before the commission a board circular of June 12 last year which prohibited disclosure of examination results to anyone except the candidates concerned.
Strongly disapproving with the Board’s circular, the CIC asked it to open up all the relevant records to Choudhury by September 15 and has further directed it to immediately withdraw the circular.
“Since the circular gives a totally distorted picture of the RTI Act, commission directs the appropriate authorities for immediate withdrawal of the circular,” it said. AGENCIES
Publication: Times Of India Bangalore; Date:2007 Sep 05; Section:Times Nation; Page Number 14

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