Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Individual Citizens alone have access to information. Institutions have other avenues to get whatever information they want— Prof M M Ansari, a commissioner in the Central Information Commission

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 23, 2006

 (Individual) Citizens alone have access to information.

Institutions have other avenues to get whatever information they want— Prof M M Ansari, a commissioner in the Central Information Commission

Groups, societies? No Right to Information

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/nmirror/mmpaper.asp?sectid=2&articleid=6222006225712816222006225630640#

Mumbai citizen realises the hard way that only queries from individuals are entertained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act

Narendra Kaushik

New Delhi: A Mumbai citizen was denied information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act because he had made the application in his position as honorary secretary of a co-operative housing society.

He was told by the Central Information Commission (CIC) that as per Section 3 of the RTI, which says that ‘all citizens shall have the right to information’, only queries from individuals can be entertained.

Powai resident Shashi Kumar Nanda described the ruling as ‘unfair and illogical’.
BANK DENIES INFO

Nanda, who worked with Air India and other organisations before his retirement, had written to the Cuffe Parade branch of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) Limited seeking information about a loan it had given to Major (retired) Rajesh Dhankar, a member of his housing society.

Nanda alleged that Major Dhankar obtained the loan on the basis of a ‘fabricated and forged letter of NoC (No objection Certificate) purportedly issued by the society’. Among other things, he sought a copy of the NoC submitted by Dhankar and wanted to know the amount of loan sanctioned by the bank.

The bank gave Nanda a copy of the NoC, but declined to give him the other documents saying the information sought did not relate to the activities of the bank and Nanda had not applied in his individual capacity.
NANDA WRITES TO CIC

After writing to IDBI 15 times, Nanda wrote to the CIC on February 27 this year complaining of denial of information.

The CIC, headed by a former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, has five commissioners. One of them, Prof M M Ansari, wrote back to Nanda upholding the bank's argument.

In his June 6 order on Nanda's appeal, Ansari said, “An information, which is due to the public actions, and, if available with the office of the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer), should be given provided that the information seeker is a citizen, under Section 3 of the Act.”

“(Individual) Citizens alone have access to information. Institutions have other avenues to get whatever information they want,” Ansari explained while speaking to Mumbai  Mirror.
THE RULE

Section 3 of the RTI says that ‘all citizens shall have the right to information’ subject to the provisions of this Act. The Act is silent on the right of societies, associations, groups and institutions to information.

• (Individual) Citizens alone have access to information. Institutions have other avenues to get whatever information they want— Prof M M Ansari, a commissioner in the Central Information Commission.

2 Responses to “Individual Citizens alone have access to information. Institutions have other avenues to get whatever information they want— Prof M M Ansari, a commissioner in the Central Information Commission”

  1. VEERESH BELLUR said

    The Information Commissionr should have furnished the alterlate facilities available to the institutions for securing information. It shows the ignorance the commissioner. There are no alternate avenues available to the institutions under any other provisions of law. It is our experience that whenever any information is sought from the PIOs they are open to the risk of threat from the corrupt officials. If the same information is sought by any organisations, they the identity of person seeking information may be kept secret. Even High Courts are open in entertaining PILs filed by organisations. The ruling is not in the public interest and needs to challenged before the appropriate forum. This aspect should be taken up by the NGOs and see that organisations are eligible to seek the information under RTI Act till an alternate arrangement or act is enacted by the parliament.

  2. Dhirendra Krishna said

    This interpretation is debatable and should be challanged in the Supreme Court. My counter-arguments are as under:

    (a)An applicant does not cease to be a citizen, merely because he is an office bearer in a co-operative society. It does not appear to be fais to debar him from seeking information under the RTI Act 2005, merely because he mentioned his designation.

    (b) Co-erative Societies, NGOs, RWAs, etc. reflect collective will of a group of citizens: each member is a citizen. It may be easier for a public authority to deal with a group of citizens, instead of dealing with each one seperately.

    In view of the narrow interpretation of the Central Information Commissioner, which can be quoted by public authorities to deny request for information from the citizen groups,application can be submitted by any one member of the citizen group.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: