While disposing of a case where the RTI applicant, the editor of a magazine, was denied a copy of complaints instituted under the Ministry of Minority Affairs against employees of Dargah committee, Dargah Khwaja Sahib, Ajmer, the CIC has remarked that a journalist does not have the right to demand advertisements for his magazine by building pressure through RTI applications.
The CPIO had complained that as the dargah management could not give advertisement to the appellant’s magazine, he started filing multiple RTI applications to bring pressure on the authorities.
The appellant said he had filed a complaint to Press Council of India against the dargah for not giving advertisement.
“As a journalist, the appellant has every right to criticize the functioning of public authority. As a citizen, he can also file RTI application. But he has no right to demand advertisements for his magazine building pressure of RTI applications,” the CIC said, while disposing of the case instituted by the editor, who had alleged that several irregularities were committed by the employees of the dargah committee.
The CIC also asked the complainant to file a comprehensive complaint on all irregularities and directed the ministry to provide action taken report on his representation within 30 days.
The commission sought copies of the file relating to his complaint given to the dargah management.
“The Commission directs the respondent authority to provide the documents sought at cost of Rs. 2 per page… appellant is warned that if he files any RTI application on the same subject matter, it could be rejected by public authority,” it said.
In the instant case, the appellant sought copy of complaints instituted under the ministry against any employee of the Dargah committee in the year 2012 and 2013 and copies of the status reports.
He showed copies of his magazines where he had written critically about the irregularities.
The CIC noted that as per the Press Council of India Act, even a public authority can file complaint against a journalist for unethical conduct, if any.