3 Nov 2022 5:10 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently dismissed a plea that was moved challenging an order of the Chief Information Commission denying information sought for regarding the PM CARES Fund details.The bench of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu noted that both the authorities, the office of CPIO and the CIC, are situated in New Delhi, and since they do not fall within the territorial jurisdiction...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently dismissed a plea that was moved challenging an order of the Chief Information Commission denying information sought for regarding the PM CARES Fund details.
The bench of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu noted that both the authorities, the office of CPIO and the CIC, are situated in New Delhi, and since they do not fall within the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court, therefore, it was not possible to entertain the instant plea.
The case in brief
On June 7, 2020, the petitioner sought information from respondent no.3 [Public Information Officer, PMO] under the Right to Information Act 2005 regarding the cabinet resolution and other information related to the advertisement of the PM CARES FUND on the government domain website.
The petitioner also sought permission letters and the amount paid by PM CARES Fund for getting its advertisement on government websites all over India and even at websites of various other world forums.
On June 15, 2020, respondent no.3 denied providing the information to the petitioner solely on the grounds that since the information was related to PM CARES fund, and the same does not fall under the ambit of public authority under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Thereafter, he moved to the First appellate authority [First appellate authority, PMO] by way of filing the first appeal. However, upholding the order of the PIO, the PMO, the first appellate authority also dismissed the first appeal.
Against that order, he moved a second appeal before the Chief Information Commission. The appeal remained pending and that is why he moved a writ petition before the High Court earlier in November 2021 seeking a direction to the CIC to decide his appeal.
While the plea was pending consideration, the CIC decided his appeal upholding the order of the CPIO on February 14, 2022. Since the appeal had been deiced, therefore, the plea was disposed of as having been rendered infructuous.
Now, in the instant plea, he challenged the order of the CIC (in the second appeal of the petitioner) arguing that since he received the impugned order at Phagwara in the State of Punjab, therefore, the High Court would be having jurisdiction to deal with the appeal against CIC's order.
High Court's order
At the outset, the Court noted the first appeal of the petitioner was decided by the Authority situated at New Delhi and the Commission, which passed the impugned order, is also situated in New Delhi therefore, the Court added, since the authorities are located outside the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court, therefore, it shall not give any cause of action to the petitioner (either partly or wholly) in terms of the clause (2) of Article 226 of the Constitution.
"In such a scenario, mere receipt of the impugned order by the petitioner at Phagwara, cannot be construed as giving rise to cause of action either in part or wholly for the purpose of territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter in controversy by this Court," the Court remarked.
In this regard, the Court also relied upon the High Court's order in the case of Harvinder Singh vs. Food Corporation of India and others, 2003(2) SCT 706 and M/s Vijay K. Jairath and Co. Vs. Union of India and another CWP No. 12420 of 2008.
Consequently, the plea was dismissed.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 282