JUSTIFICATION FOR REASONS FOR DENIAL UNDER RTI
Most of PIOs deny information by just quoting sub-sections of section 8.1 of RTI Act, without giving meaningful justification for arriving at that reason for denial. This is against letter and spirit of RTI Act. I quote decisions of CIC and judgments, which can be quoted in first and second appeals.
Decisions of CIC [Central Information Commission]:
A] “Through this Order the Commission now wants to send the message loud and clear that quoting provisions of Section 8 of the RTI Act ad libitum to deny the information requested for, by CPIOs/Appellate Authorities without giving any justification or grounds as to how these provisions are applicable is simply unacceptable and clearly amounts to malafide denial of legitimate information attracting penalties under section 20(1) of the Act.”CIC/OK/A/2006/00163 dated 7 July, 2006.
B] “The PIO has to give the reasons for rejection of the request for information as required under Section 7(8)(i). Merely quoting the bare clause of the Act does not imply that the reasons have been given. The PIO should have intimated as to how he had come to the conclusion that rule 8(1)(j) was applicable in this case.”CIC/OK/C/2006/00010 dated 7 July, 2006.
Refer: CIC/SG/A/2011/003607/17371 dated
C] “Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions the exception. The information can be denied only if it is exempt as per the provisions of Section 8 or Section 9 of the RTI Act. Further, while denying information the authority withholding the information must show satisfactory reason and such reason should be germane and based on some material. Sans this consideration the information cannot be denied………” CIC/BS/A/2013/000681/4968 dated 24-04- 2014.
D] “6. This Court is inclined to concur with the view expressed by the CIC that in W.P. (Civil) 12428/2009 order to deny the information under the RTI Act the authority concerned would have to show a justification with reference to one of the specific clauses under Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act. In the instant case ………….” Hon’ble HIGH COURT OF
in W. P. (C)
12428/2009 & CM APPL 12874/2009 DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE versus
D.K.SHARMA –Judgement dated DELHI 15-12-2010
E] “If no reasons are given in the appellate orders, then it is injustice to the natural justice because quasi judicial obligations are giving reasons for order, since justice is not expected to wear the inscrutable face of a sphinx” Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in Ibrahim Kunju v. State of Kerala AIR 1970 Ker 65.
F] Judgement of HON’BLE HIGH COURT OF
in WP(C) No. 3114/2007 decided on 03.12.2007 :
“12………As is reflected in its preambular paragraphs, the enactment seeks to promote transparency, arrest corruption and to hold the Government and its instrumentalities accountable to the governed. This spirit of the Act must be borne in mind while construing the provisions contained therein.
13. Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right itself. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation or the prosecution of the offenders. It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) and other such provisions would become the haven for dodging demands for information” _______________________________________________________