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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

PIL alleges PIOs under RTI avoiding giving info; HC seeks response

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 03, 2013
First Published: 03:28 IST(3/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:30 IST(3/5/2013)

The Delhi high court on Thursday sought the Centre's reply on a public interest litigation which alleged that public information officers (PIO) and the appellate authorities under the RTI Act are "resorting various tactics to avoid providing information" to information seekers.

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A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath issued notices to the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, Delhi government, Central Information Commission, MCD and others and sought their responses by July 31 on a PIL seeking effective enforcement of the RTI Act.

Petitioner Anil Dutt Sharma, claimed in his plea that he had filed several RTI applications before various authorities seeking information but he had received "fake, baseless and bogus" replies of PIOs.

"Petitioner had filed various RTI applications for seeking information under the RTI Act but he received fake, baseless and bogus replies of PIO, non-speaking orders of appellate authorities and CIC orders which are not in consonance with the provisions of RTI Act, in a mechanical manner which are nothing but avoiding information to the information seekers, concealment of true information and cover-up of reality," the PIL said.

The plea alleged there are serious "lapses" on the part of the CIC for non-implementation of section 4 of The RTI Act by replying that information is not maintained and even the first appellate Authority of CIC is giving "vague" replies.

"The PIO of CIC and public authorities are misinterpreting in reply section 11 (third party information) of the Act. The CIC Commissioners are reluctant to invoke penalty or disciplinary action as per section 20 of the RTI Act," the plea said.

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