Distt court rejects human rights forum's RTI plea
As Reported in Times of India on 13 May 2008, 0508 hrs IST,TNN

PUNE: Activists of Human Rights and Law Defenders (HRLD) are up in arms over the district court's alleged refusal to allow inspection of records under section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 on Monday.
HRLD members filed an application to request information on the number of domestic violence cases filed in Pune District from 2005 and their outcome.

The application, filed under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005, was rejected outright by a district court registrar.

"Section 4 allows the applicant to inspect the original records of the court. They are not allowing us to view the original records, and are insisting on sending the information to us by post," said Swati Darvatkar, one of the applicants.

"We need to view the original records to ensure authenticity of the data. We want to make use of RTI," said Tejaswita Dalvi, another applicant.
Earlier, the applicants had approached the court on Friday with the same request. However, it was turned down because the application was not presented in the right format.

When TOI contacted registrar Eknath Hadap, who refused to accept the application under Section 4, he said, "We have not refused any information. We are here to help people. But I am unaware of any provision that allows the applicant to view the original records."

The applicants are students doing a month-long summer internship with HRLD. "Let them approach me as students, with a letter from their college. I will certainly help them out. We have helped many such students earlier," said Hadap. Insisting that they do not need to file an RTI application for the required information, he said, "They can approach me either as students or as citizens. Not as both."

Human Rights lawyer Asim Sarode who heads HRLD said, "They make people run from pillar to post to file an RTI application. We have had similar experiences in the past, too. The tendency is to discourage use of RTI."
The information desired being of a sensitive nature, the court may impose certain restrictions regarding reproduction of the data, disclosure of names etc, said Sarode.

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