KIC allows disclosure of Governor's report to the President, recommending President's Rule....
KIC 78 APL 2008
KARNATAKA INFORMATION COMMISSION
(Sri B. H. Veeresh vs. PIO, Karnataka Governorís Secretariat, Bangalore )
1.In his request for information dated 2-11-2007, Petitioner has sought three items of information including certified copies of the communication sent by the Governor of Karnataka to the President of India recommending suspension of the Karnataka Assembly and imposition of Presidentís rule.
2.Respondent vide his letter dated 5-1-08 has provided information sought at items (2) and (3) but has declined the information sought at item number (1) on the ground that it is a privileged communication.
3.Aggrieved by this endorsement, Petitioner filed a first appeal, which has been rejected by the Special Secretary to Governor, the First Appellate Authority, on 18-2-08 on the same ground. Since the required information was not provided, Petitioner has filed this second appeal before the Commission.
4.Arguments of the parties were heard on 13-6-08. Respondent has argued that the information sought is exempt under sections 8(1)(a) and (c) of the Act. In order to ascertain whether the information does fall under these sections, Commission directed the Respondent to produce the required documents before the Commission on 17-6-08 at 11-15 a.m. The documents were accordingly produced before the Commission.
5.Commission has framed the following two issues to be replied in this appeal:
(i)Is the information sought exempt from disclosure under any of the provisions of the RTI Act?
(ii)What is the relief to which Appellant is entitled?
6.Respondent has stated that the information is exempt from disclosure because it is privileged communication between the Governor and the President. Commission noted that unlike intelligence and security organizations, which are largely exempt from providing information, neither the Office of the President nor that of the Governor is exempt from any of the provisions of the Act. Any ďprivileged communicationĒ is also per-se not exempt. Therefore the information can get exempted only if its contents attract any of the exemptions under the Act.
7.Commission has carefully perused the documents. After perusing the documents and after carefully considering the arguments advanced by both the parties, Commission is of the view that there is nothing in the recommendation( s) made by the Governor to the President of India, which would lead to incitement of an offence or which would constitute breach of privilege of the State Legislature. The recommendations made are factual.
8.The provisions of sections 8(1)(a) or 8(1)(c) are therefore not attracted in this case. Commission also held that information is also not exempt from disclosure under any other provision of the Act. The first issue is therefore replied in the negative.
9.As regards the second issue, the Commission decides that the Petitioner is entitled to receive the required information free of cost. Commission accordingly directs the Respondent to provide the Petitioner with the information sought by him under item (1) of his above referred request within 30 days of receipt of this order, free of cost, through R.P.A.D., under intimation to the Commission.
10.The appeal is disposed off as having been allowed in terms of the above directions.
11.Signed and pronounced in the open court, this 30th day of June 2008.
KIC 78 APL 2008
STATE CHIEF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
Sri K. H. Seshagiri,
PIO and Under Secretary,
Karnataka Governorís Secretariat,
Raj Bhavan, Bangalore-560 001.
No. 54, 117th Cross, M. C. Layout,