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Thread: Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

  1. #1

    Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that citizens cannot question government policies and plans by utilising the Right to Information Act.

    The Commission noted this while dismissing an application filed by a Mumbai resident Amin Merchant who had sought information from Finance Ministry as to why certain tariff policy was framed by the Centre.
    " is not open to citizens to question the government about why a certain matter was handled in a certain way and not differently. The public authority owes him no explanation," the Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said.

    Merchant, in his application to the Ministry had questioned its policy for not issuing exemption notification against certain goods.
    "While RTI Act entitles each citizen to seek and receive information from public authorities, it does not allow them any liberty to seek explanations and reasons from it," the Commission said adding that such "freewheeling questioning" should not be encouraged.

    Holding that the RTI Act is not a proper instrument for seeking such explanation from the government, the Commission said, "No explanation is owed to the appellant (Merchant) by the Centre, which pilots the budget before the Parliament and is answerable only to the Parliament and to no one else."

    "If he is not happy with some of the proposals such persons may even petition the appropriate department of the government or the Parliament or agitate the matter before a Court of law," the Commission said.

    NEW DELHI: 11 Nov 2007
    The Times of India

  2. Re: Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

    I think, the applicant had made mistake in his appraoch. Perhaps, it would have been better, if he had asked for the noting portion etc, on which the decision to frame the policy was taken and then would have analysed the matter. After collecting all the infomation, further steps, like making representation etc or taking up the matter through media etc. could have been taken. The question of the application was not covered under the definition of "information" under the RTI Act.

  3. #3
    C J Karira
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    Re: Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

    Incorrect drafting of the RTI application.....leads to disappointments later.

  4. Re: Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

    If Govt policies cannot be asked, then it is big blow to the objects of the RTI Act itself. The preamble declares that the act has been enacted in order to promote transparency and accountability. If public authorities cannot be asked for explanation then how can they be made accountable for their decisions?

    S.8(1)(i) provides that the decisions of council of ministers, the reasons thereof and the material on which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken.

    Further, S.8(1) itself provides that information which cannot be denied to the state legislature or parliament shall not be denied to any person.

    Ofcourse, the improper drafting of the application may have caused the refusal , but the point is that government policies cannot be out of purview of RTI Act.

  5. Re: Govt policies cannot be questioned through RTI Act: CIC

    This is an old news report. Much water has flown under the bridge since then.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.


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