Legislature should insulate RTI from being misused
NEW DELHI: The legislature should take steps to insulate the Right to Information Act from being misused by people facing inquiries and investigations, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said.
The Commission's observation came after the Income Tax office expressed its disgust over Mumbai resident S P Goyal, who has filed numerous RTI applications with the department, leading to substantial diversion of its resources and also affecting its functioning.
The department contended that Goyal, who is facing inquiries by IT authorities, has been blatantly misusing the provisions of the transparency law by filing multiple and repetitive pleas so as to harass its officers and sabotage the investigations pending against him.
"I am afraid I am not in a position to provide to the respondents (IT authorities) the type of relief they are soliciting. The RTI Act provides hardly any room for manoeuvre in such matters," Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said.
Expressing its inability to contain such purported misuse of the legislation, it further said "unless the legislature steps in and make some provision to bar motivated action by persons facing inquiries and investigations, the public authorities will have to grin and bear the burden."
The Commission which was hearing three separate RTI pleas of Gokhale seeking disclosure of certain file notings, disposed of the applications after concurring with the department's view that the applicant had not filed his application in a format, as stipulated under the provisions of the RTI Act.
Challenging the very maintainability of the RTI requests, the IT department said that Gokhale had not signed his applications in his own name, while further failing to certify the name of the authorised signatory.
While accepting the department's contention on issue of maintanibility of the information requests, the Commission said that Gokhale has failed to put up his application as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
"It was disingenuous for the applicant to argue that all rights were his, whereas all responsibilities were that of the repondents (IT department)," Tiwari said, adding that his applications were not within the ambit of law.
Legislature should insulate RTI from being misused- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times