CIC declines to interfere with govt on Lokpal

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has declined to interfere with the government’s response on an RTI applicant’s queries seeking information on proceedings of the joint drafting committee of the Lokpal Bill headed by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said that most of the queries put by the applicant were more in the nature of questioning the decision of the authorities than seeking information.

Among other information, Varanasi-based Amit Shanker wanted to know from the department of personnel and training (DoPT) as to who had ordered for audio recording of the proceedings of the joint drafting committee held in June, last year following Anna Hazare’s first hunger strike.

The joint drafting committee comprising Team Anna members and senior Union ministers had proved to be a fiasco with the government going ahead with its own draft on the anti-graft ombudsman body. The apex transparency panel said that the chief public public information officer (CPIO) had provided him some information on his queries from the available records and even handed over audio recordings of the proceedings after he filed an appeal.

“Many of the queries of the appellant are not in the nature of seeking information but in the nature of questioning the authorities for taking or not taking any particular line of decision. The chief public public information officer (CPIO) has no duty or obligation to respond to such queries,” he said.

The panel also said, “the CPIO was very right in depending on the available records in order to furnish reply to the appellant in this case. The reply to such questions as to who had requested for the audio or video recording of the proceedings could be given only if there is any particular document or record with such details.”

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