If the information officer is competent to supply both the unrecorded as well as unpublished information, what then is the purpose of the Section 4?
A Central Public Inforamtion Officer is required to provide Information under RTI which is defined as "information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;
If a information is un recorded then it does not falls withint perview of information.
If an information is unpublished but is avaialbe with CPIO and can be provided under RTI then CPIO has to make it availalbe.
Section 4 is an enabling and is prepatory. It is mandatory on all public authorities to record and publish all information available with them. It means all such information which according to the public authorities needs to be recorded and published and be ready to release it in favour of the citizens whenever such information is asked for.
So far as the information not recorded and published in terms of section 4, the Information Officer is the authority to allow the public authorities to release the un-recorded and unpublished information.
It may be that the public authority may consider that some information available with them need not be published, and shall be kept secret.
If any citizen having interest in such information applies thorough the public information Officer, the public authority may not have any interest either to withhold it or release it. In such cases there is no difficulty for the information Officer to release the information straight away.
In case the public authority claims the secrecy he has the jurisdiction to decide whether information asked for can be released.
Thus, the contents of section 4 doesnot in any manner restrict the powers of the Information Officer to release information which is claimed as secret.
Section 4 is the heart of RTI act and CIC in spite of getting so many complaints never trying to get the section 4 implemented so that least application under RTI may be allowed to generate. At present public authorities are trying to avoid informations and making fool to RTI users in the name of non availability of informations. Actually section 4 of RTI Act 2005 is binding on PIO to provide the general informations on website or through hoardings where every indian citizen may access the informations. I want every activist to try to ensure implementation of section 4.