RTI:PIO obliged to give information only within RTI purview


PIO obliged to give information

only within RTI purview, says GIC

Rahul Mangaonkar | TNN


Ahmedabad: It is the golden era of right to information.

Earlier, even simple demands of citizens for information and accountability in functioning of government functionaries would fall on deaf ears. Now, thanks to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, citizens have started demanding things beyond its purview and public authorities are still being responsive in order to redress grievances.

Earlier, a demand such as ‘remove unauthorised constructions and inform me about the details when it’s done’, made in this case by Saijpur Bogha’s Mah e s h ch a n d r a Waghela, would have simply been trashed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
However, since Waghela had made his application under RTI, not only was his demand entertained to the extent to explaining to him why it could not be done by the public information officer (PIO) of AMC, even its appellate authority ordered a site inspection and report.

Gujarat Information Commission though is not amused. It ruled that that Waghela’s demand for removal of unauthorised construction is not within the purview of definition of ‘information’ given under RTI. Waghela had made a demand which neither the PIO, nor the appellate authority, nor the GIC has the competence and jurisdiction to do under RTI.

While adding that there is no authority under any functionary in RTI to order for removal of any unauthorised construction or encroachment, GIC said that at best Waghela could seek a copy of the notice given for removal of unauthorised construction, copy of the proceedings, file notings on the matter.

GIC noted that AMC’s PIO should have simply informed Waghela that his demand does not fall under the purview of RTI. But with a view to enable public authority to take a proper and correct decision which could be legally sustained, the PIO had given some information.

It also noted that the appellate authority’s ordering the PIO to verify the site and submit a report was not necessary for the proceedings under RTI.

It was though clarified before GIC that it was done with a view to redress Waghela’s grievances and at the same time for the requirements under other laws and rules.