Information so gathered, can that be used in court of law?
I want to know that I have got information from Nagar nigam, Can I use it as an evidence in the court of law? What are the provisions related to that?
Is the document made available by the central/state public information officer is admissible as evidence in a court of law?
It is very pertinent question. This question is sure to arise when the receipient of the document attempts to put in as evidence in a case pending in the civil or criminal court.
The document made available by the Public Information Officer is the one which is already recorded in the official records and published or it may be one which is not recorded and published or the one which is yet to be recorded and published. What the public information officer does is, he just furnishes a copy of the record. Such record may be a true copy but it is not either authenticated or can be vouchsafed as true. The information available will be is something like news. The public information Officer is not a party to such information. He is not capable of speaking anything about the content of the document or about its veracity.
The document furnished by the public Information Officer is no doubt a document issued from the proper custody and by the authority which by law is found to keep the inofrmation and disseminate it. That by itself doesnot make the document either authentic or its contents true. Moreover, the document issued has no purpose other than allowing the recipient to know of this content and nothing more. It is not the intention or the purpose of Public Information Officer to support the recipent when he uses it for any purpose either to prove or disprove any fact in which the recipient of the document is only concerned. The document and the information contained therein is neutral as if it is just a news.
The public Information Officer is completely ignorant of the purpose for which the applicant has made his request for information nor the Public Information Officer is in any manner concerned with it. In the application for information the applicant is not required to state any reasons why he requires information. Therefore, it is not an application for a certified copy of any information recorded by any adjudicating authority in a dispute. As per the practices of the courts and tribunals the party applying for a certified copy should state weather it is required for purpose of appeal or for reference. No such condition is prescribed for the applicant for information to state the reason why he requires information. The copy furnished by the court can be used only for the purpose for which the copy of appplication is made. As per the practices prevalent with the Government when an application for certified copy is made, the authority or the officer recieving the application will specifically endorse on the copy he grants, that it shall not be used in court as evidence eventhough the information contained theirein is not only true and is also authentic. In such cases, the court recieving the certified copy, before admitting the document requires that the document should be proved to be of the original. It is particularly true so in the case of survey maps, where the court normally as a practice appoints the official surveyour as a court Commissioner and obtain the true sketch. Here, in the case of Public Information Officer wheather he makes an endorsement as is referred to above to the said effect that the documents supplied by him shall not be used in court, it is implied in the circumstances of this Act that the document made available to the applicant shall not be used as a proof in court proceedings.
Further, the principal purpose of the Act itself is to make available to the citizens all infomration the Government is possessed off for his self-illumination to function as an enlightned and well informaed citizen and not to help him to score any point with his opponent in any dispute.
Thus, when the citizen wants to use the document obtained by him from the Public Information Officer as a document in any civil or criminal proceedings, he should adopt the procedure prescribed for purpose of obtaining certified copies through court process and not by making an application for information under this Act.
However this interpretation is yet to be formalized by way of decisions that may occur in future.
The information provided under RTI can be starting point for redressal of grivances during the process of redressal the competent authority can ask for information from the concerned office if required.
Originally Posted by crusader
kushal thats a wonderful piece of analysis that you made.
if a person wants a copy of a letter under rti, the copy is provided but not signed as a certified true copy. that itself makes that paper value less in any judicial proceedings.
I have some reservations over this issue. The law of evidence permits that documents may be proved either by primary or secondary evidence. Sec.65 of the Evidence Act provides for the admissibility of secondary evidence under certain circumstances. In the instant case, eventhough the document obtained under RTI is not a certified copy, if the litigant files a sworn affidavit to the effect that he has obtained the copy of the documents through RTI and that the original is in possession of the party against whom the document is sought to be proved, then what will be the status of admissibility of this uncertified document. If there are any legal practitioners among our members, please clarify on this point.
Last edited by ganpat1956; 19-04-07 at 11:07 PM.
Can someone please clarify on this.
I have a pending matter where I need to use the document obtained under
RTI for filing a case against the Govt. as well as complaining to the Vigilance cell.
Any clarification will be welcome.
I am inclined to agree with Mr.Ganpat. In fact, applicants have been using the information obtained under the RTI Act in the Income Tax Tribunals, High Court and CJMs and the courts have taken cognisance of such information, which were not counter signed/attested/ certified by the CPIO. The fact that CIC also recognises this fact, though not specifically stated so, in Decision No.40/IC(A)/06/ F.No.CIC/MA/A/2006/00109 Dated, the 16th May, 2006, stating,
"The matter is sub-judice and the Income Tax Department cannot, in the absence of Court’s orders, be made a conduit for supply of third party information in what is essentially a civil dispute."
Originally Posted by chanda_s
U/s 2 j (ii) of the RTI Act, the right to information includes " the right to extracts or certified copies of documents or records". If an applicant specifically asks for certified copies of documents, then the PIO is left with no alternative than to provide the information in the manner sought for by the applicant.
This provision of the Act somehow escaped my attention, when I made the earlier posting on the admissibility as evidence of a document obtained under RTI Act.