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The Supreme Court has said that while the right to information (RTI) is a formidable tool to fight corruption in governance, it “should not be allowed to be misused or abused” to obstruct national development.

 “The (Right to Information) Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty,” said the apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik in a judgment delivered earlier this week but made available Thursday.

 The judgment that upheld the right of students to inspect and photocopy their answer sheets after their evaluation in examinations said: “The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information…which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption.”

The court cautioned against the indiscriminate and impractical demands and directions under the RTI.

 “Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under the RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive (government) getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information,” the judgment said.

 The judgment delivered Tuesday said: “The nation does not want a scenario where 75 percent of the staff of public authorities spends 75 percent of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties.”

“The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of public authorities prioritising information furnishing at the cost of their normal and regular duties,” the court said.

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5 years 2 months ago

The order highlight one side of the page.
If 25% of the the Govt.employees devout
25% of their time to dispose the matters earnestly, 75% of the RTI applications will
be unwanted. I have my bitter experience
in life.

5 years 2 months ago
As it is the individuals in the govt. have been searching alibis as to how to avoid provisions of the RTI Act. Now Judicial decision further gives strength to the individuals that misuse office of the public. The following incident is cited example. During the course of hearing Hon’ble CIC/New Delhi (Mr. A.Dixit), without hearing the appellant observed and immediately went in hiding under camaras in the course of live telecast held on 22.7.2011 at 1530 hrs. The following is the vomitted by Hon’ble CIC/New Delhi on 22.7.2011 and hidden, thus forcing appellant to leave the hall: 1. What for… Read more »