Gulbarga judge rejects RTI application

Invites summons from Karnataka Information Commission

The rejection of the application and denial of information are surprising considering that even the highest judiciary is now willing to provide information of a personal nature in response to RTI application.

More interesting, the Public Information Officer, in this case, the Chief Administrative Officer of the District and Sessions Court has rejected the RTI application “under the directions of the Honourable Principal District and Sessions Judge, Gulbarga.”

The RTI application was filed by Mohammed Hashmat Ali, a resident of Gulbarga, on November 6, 2009, seeking information relating to record-keeping system and functioning of the office.

Index catalogues

The information sought included index catalogues of files, a public authority is bound to maintain under Section 4 (1) (a) of the RTI Act, and suo motu declaration of office functioning required to be obliged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act; copy of the notification/order appointing PIO and Assistant PIOs, and copy of the record retention schedule.

Though the information sought was specific and clear, the PIO in his letter dated
November 13, 2009 stated that the application for issue of copies of documents has been rejected by an order of the Principal District and Sessions Judge for want of full particulars.

Following the rejection of application and denial of information the applicant filed a complaint with the KIC. Hashmat Ali stated that he has been aggrieved by the denial of information and prayed the KIC to issue notice to the PIO and conduct hearing for initiating further action. The applicant contended that the arbitrary rejection of the application and denial of information was against the provisions of the RTI Act.

Valid reasons

In its summons to the PIO, the KIC maintained that there were valid reasons to hold an inquiry against the respondent and has directed the PIO to be present in person with all the necessary documents before him on April 5. The notice has made it clear that the respondent was liable for a fine of Rs 250 per day to a maximum of Rs 25,000 and has therefore directed him to supply the information to the applicant during the intercession period of of the complaint and the hearing.

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