On seeing that the PIOs are approaching High Court to get stay on penalties imposed by the SIC, I suspected that there might be chances that the expenditure involved in the litigation might have incurred by the government, as obtaining stay orders involving high expenditure against penalty of Rs.14,750/- in that particular ase may not be economically viable. I had therefore sought the required information from the same PIO and Additional Secretary to government who has been punished and obtained the stay from High Court.
The PIO denied the informtion on a plea that the information sought for in the form of "Questionnaire" does not come under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.. In my First Appel I had pleaded that I had sought the information in a particular form as stipulated in Section 7(9), the meaning of the word "Form" are "Method used to convey the contents", " the way it is said" etc and the meaning of the word "Questionnaire" are "a Form containing a set of questions as a way of gathering information" etc. etc. The AA and Additional Chief Secretary repeated the same reply given by PIO in first Appeal. In Second Appeal to the SIC, following are the relevent portion of SIC, Kerala's Order AP No.594(4)SIC/2008 dated 27-5-2008
"The Commission pointedly asked the SPIO to explain as to how the information sought would not come under " Information " u/s 2(f) of the RTI Act just because it was put in a questionnaire format. After hearing the PIO the Commission clarified to her that the information as the appellant had sought would very well come under the "Information" as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act and therefore it had to be provided. Accordingly the Commission directed the SPIO to provide the information etc., ..... within 7 days free of cost.
It seems to be an important decision concrning information sought in the form of a questionnaire