22 Dec : The Department of personnel and training, which is the nodal agency for the implementation of RTI Act, is itself violating the Act by publishing misleading information on its website, the CIC has held.
The department on its website has excluded file notings from the definition of ‘information’ which implies that there is no obligation on it to reveal these under the RTI Act.
"Because it is already clear that the entry of file noting with regard to exempted information on the website of DoPT is misleading, we find the DoPT is in violation of the RTI Act," said Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
The Commission ordered the department to delete the definition of information which says that file notings were not included in RTI Act and replace it with the new definition as given in the Act.
In an earlier hearing of the plea filed by one RTI applicant S C Agrawal, the CIC had directed "It is clear that CPIO (of DoPT) has simply acted in accordance with a circular issued by the DoPT."
"If we are to construe malafide in the denial of information in such cases, it is necessary that the source of such malafide denial be identified and further action considered accordingly.
From the above it is clear that the impugned order was issued with the approval of then secretary DoPT."
Agrawal in his RTI application to DoPT has asked for the information "if the Chief Justice of India and states and their offices are covered under section 2 of Right to Information Act for their administrative acts together with Supreme Court and High Courts, in the manner Presidents Secretariat under RTI Act responds to all communications addressed in personal names of President of India."
He had also asked for the file noting related to the issue which was denied by the department saying that notings were not covered under departmental rules for implementation of RTI.
The argument was rejected by CIC which ordered the department to comply with the direction within a week.