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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HC quashes UP govt notifications on RTI Act

PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 25,2012: Lucknow, Jan 25 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today quashed two notifications by Uttar Pradesh government which excluded confidential section under Home and Civil Aviation departments from the purview of RTI Act, saying restrictions imposed were excessive and beyond the powers of the state. The order was passed by a Lucknow bench comprising justices Pradeep Kant and Decvendra Kumar Upadhyaya while allowing two Public Interest Litigations challenging the notifications issued by the state government. On June 7 2009, a notification was issued excluding certain works alloted to conidential sections of the state government from the purview of RTI Act. Prior to this, one more notification was issued on March 25, 2008 which specified that the operation unit, the maintenance, security and general administration unit of the civil aviation department of the state were excluded from the applicability of the RTI Act. The court in its order observed that the RTI is part and parcel of the right to freedom of speech and expression as contained in the Constitution. Further the RTI Act gives statutory safeguard to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in the Constitution, which cannot be curtailed except with reasonable restrictions, it said. The court said that therefore restrictions imposed were excessive and beyond the powers of the state, which cannot be done by issuance of the impugned notifications. "For the aforesaid reason petitions are allowed and both the notifications being invalid or hereby quashed," it said.

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