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Thread: Misuse of rti act by asking voluminous information

  1. Misuse of rti act by asking voluminous information

    i am the PIO of the institution in which i am working. i have received a request for information under the rti act. the information requested is voluminous and it would take me months to collect all that information. i have my regular duties to perform. pio work is only an additional responsibility. besides, the information sought is under the control of my superior. i am at my wit's end. please advise

  2. #2
    C J Karira
    Blog Entries
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    Re: ?misuse of rti act


    Denial of information has to be as per anything contained Sections of 8 or 9 of the RTI Act.
    Otherwise information has to be provided lest it be considered as deemed denial of the request.

    Some of the sections of the RTI Act which you can use in your defence/to your advantage, are:

    Section 7(9): An information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.

    Section 2(j)(i): inspection of work, documents, records;

    If you are sure that the information is voluminous and that it will take you too much time, then you can inform the applicant accordingly and invite him to inspect the relevant records/files/documents and then ask you for the copies that he finds are necessary.

    Regarding the fact that information is held by your superior, Section 5(4) give powers to the PIO to seek assistance of any other officer for proper discharge of your duties. "Any other" can mean also your superior officers.
    Further Section 5(5), makes it obligatory (the word used in the Act is shall) for that particular officer to render assistance to the PIO as well as be considered as a deemed PIO if any provisions of the Act are contravened.
    Therefore enough protection has been built in.

    Having said that, I understand the peculiar situation very well, since you have to continue to deal with your superior officer on a day to day basis, even after this application is dealt with. Probably some officer on this forum can guide you better regarding this aspect.

  3. #3

    Re: misuse of rti act

    Hello Snkmoorthy,

    Before going into the Denial mode you must ascertain whether the information sought is in larger public interest or not?

    If it's in larger interest of the Public then putting up an extra bit of effort will do no harm to any body.

    Last edited by sidmis; 05-01-08 at 05:36 AM.

  4. Re: ?misuse of rti act

    moorthy ji,

    I am sorry to tell here that if you start such a discussion that how an applicant can be denied the information by saying it is voluminious and takes much time to collect, It will be a movement towards anti-RTI activists and applicants.

    Because in India we are continously observing that PIO's are beeing supported by all their superiors, but the applicants are being deprived, harrassed and threatened in many ways and from many sides.

    Under such circumstances you should not start such a discussion at all in the interest of RTI Act, 2005 and such a move may totally support the corrupt officers. And the applicants/information seekers are deprived, depressed, de-motivated as it is done before introduction of RTI Act 2005.

    If the information sought is under your superiors control, then do all paper work demanding information sought by the applicant, but do not try to find the way how you can deny the information sought because the information providing person is your superior or boss.

    Hence I request you to see every applicant with a posite only, and provde the information by taking as much efforts as you can.


  5. Re: ?misuse of rti act

    This is not the discussion, but a request by Moorthy asking for help in deciding the matter.

    May I quote an information posted from my blog:
    I mean the PIO in the department because the PIO has a right under section 5 (4) to ask for any information from anyone in the Department in case an application is made under the RTI Act
    Kindly read the blog entry of mine here:
    RTI India - The supreme powers with PIO u/s 5(4) of RTI

    If you sincerely believes that the information compilation would take months to compile , you can deny the information as suggested by Karira above.

  6. Re: Misuse of rti act by asking voluminous information

    dear rakatkam sir, you have completely misunderstood me; i am ready and even anxious to give information; i know the volume of information the applicant wants, you do not; i have written to the applicant to come to my office and take away the information he needs; the applicant has written back saying he wont come but send xerox copies of hundreds of documents. it is not humanly possible for one individual to collect all that; hence i posted a query in this forum as to how tackle the situation; by the way all officers are not corrupt or supportive of corruption.

  7. Re: Misuse of rti act by asking voluminous information

    snkmoorthy ji,
    your point is well taken. in the context that you are in, the course of action suggested by karira appears to be the only option. you may request the applicant to examine the records and if he refuses to do so, again intimate him of your decision to give copies of all documents he wants after examining the records personally. you would have done your duty as you gave ample opportunity to the applicant to access the requisite information.

    whatever the applicant does later would in no way harm your position.

    however in case you can go that extra mile in providing the information, it would be commendable, provided it is within your resources.

  8. Re: Misuse of rti act by asking voluminous information

    There is provision in RTI to charge fair rate for providing xerox copies of the requested documents.

    Is there a commercial copy service that can come and copy the records for you and mail it to the requester? If there is, then you can get an estimate from the company and ask the requester to pay in advance before xerox copies are mailed out to him.

    The mere fact that the records are voluminous is not a reason to deny information to public. However someone has to pay for the cost of xeroxing and mailing.

    Some time back I mentioned that digital cameras are a cost effective way to take images of the documents. The images are easily readable and can be emailed, put on internet for all to see. Again the requester of documents has to do it.

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