The Central Information Commission has instructed the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice to provide a clear, cogent and precise response to the RTI application.
Venkatesh Nayak had filed an RTI seeking photocopy of the request sent by the Government of India to Chief Justices of High Courts for ensuring due consideration to be given to suitable candidates belonging to SCs, STs, OBCs, Minorities and Women while sending proposals for appointment as Judges of those High Courts; photocopy of all replies received from Chief Justices, if any, till the date of RTI application.
Before the Commission, he contended that the information as sought by him was not given by the CPIO. Though he filed an appeal in June 2018 itself, the same has not been disposed yet, he submitted before the Commission. He said that he would be satisfied if the total number of proposals relating to SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and Women candidates is provided to him.
The Commission observed that the RTI Act, 2005 stipulates time limits in its various provisions relating to responding to RTI Applications, transfer of applications, filing and disposing of first appeal to ensure that a culture of information dissemination is strengthened so that a robust functioning of the democracy gets established. The Chief Information Commissioner Bimal Julka said:
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by the Appellant and in the light of the decisions cited above as also the provisions of the Act as per which a clear, cogent and timely response ought to be provided by the CPIO/ FAA, the Commission instructs the Respondent to FAA, D/o Justice, M/o Law and Justice to examine the RTI Application/ First Appeal and provide a clear, cogent and precise response to the Appellant within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order depending upon the condition for containment of the Corona Virus Pandemic in the Country.
The Commission also instructed the Public Authority to convene periodic conferences/seminars to sensitize, familiarize and educate the concerned officials about the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities.