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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.


2 Responses to “Don’t allow RTI misuse: Supreme court”

  1. M.K.B.Pillai

    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.

    Reply
  2. vijay

    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 information required (referring to Appellant’s reqeust)
    2. The information costs thousands of pages (while the information will not cost even one page).
    3. Do you want heat the thousands of papers that are being supplied by PAs in the form of information during the course of ensuing winter?
    4. There is no public interest involved.
    5. You have not mentioned reasons to seek RTI.
    6. The Hon’ble CIC/New Delhi takes upthe citizen appeals based on the payment or other-wise.

    The citizen has submitted number of appeals. They kept under wraps. Whatever can be disposed are being disposed negatively like above. No logic, reason, or rule apply by the Hon’ble CIC. What had transpired is different from what appeared in the final analysis.

    As it is Hon’ble CIC/New Delhi is unable to implement its own orders. But chosen to fix up disposal of appeals at its discretion.

    It is possible that Hon’ble CIC/New Delhi and/or Govt. Public servants likely to mise-use the judgement of the Hon’ble Apex Court”s observations. The Apex court is not accessible to ordinary citizen and hence where is the scope for citizens of India approaching corridors of justice. Justice appears in India is cry of citizen in wilderness and nobody wants to hear him.

    Reply

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