RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: Queries must be answered if information is available on record

While the RTI Act does not expect the PIO to provide answers which are not on record, it does not mean that merely because the queries are prefixed with “why, what, when, whether” information can be refused. This is the 15th in a series of important judgements given by Shailesh Gandhi, former CIC that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
 

The Public Information Officer (PIO) cannot deny information available on record merely because the queries are prefixed with “why, what, when or whether”. While giving this important judgement, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner said, “The Right to Information (RTI) Act does not state that queries must not be answered, nor does it stipulate that prefixes such as ‘why, what, when and whether’ cannot be used."

 

“The PIO and the First Appellate Authority (FAA) have erred in their interpretation of what constitutes ‘information’ as defined under the RTI act,” the Central Information Commission (CIC) said in its order dated 9 February 2009.

 

Mumbai resident TB Dhorajiwala, on 25 August 2008, sought information regarding a tender for disposal of unserviceable equipments of chemical engineering department at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). He wanted to know...

 

1. What happened of Tender No MD/CD/DISP/001/07/REG/L/ which was due on 24 August 2007 for disposal of Unserviceable equipments

2. Let me know why you had not Re-Invite of above tender

3. Let me know what stage the matter is at present

4. Let me know what action you had taken against offender 

5. Let me know person name who had involved in this matter

 

While denying the information, Dr Indu Saxena, the PIO at IITB, said, "The RTI Act does not cast on the Public Authority any obligation to answer queries, in which a petitioner attempts to elicit answer to the questions with prefixes, such as, why, what, when and whether.  The petitioner’s right extends only to seeking information as defined in section 2(f) either by pinpointing the file, document, paper or records, etc, or by mentioning the type of information as may be available with the specified public authority. You may only ask for specific information under RTI Act, 2005 rather than questioning the action of public authority.”

 

Dhorajiwala then approached the FAA. While returning the appeal, the FAA said, “...the CPIO has taken the right stand in dealing with your application dated 25 August 2008. However, you may mention what exact information as defined under Section 2(f) read with section 2(i) & 2(j) of the RTI Act, which will be provided.”

 

Dhorajiwala then filed a second appeal before the Commission. During the hearing, the PIO, in a written submission repeated the grounds for denying the information and adding that the appellant had stated in his appeal that he was seeking “clarification of his queries”.

 

Mr Gandhi, the CIC, noted that the PIO and the FAA have erred in their interpretation of what constitutes ‘information’ as defined under the RTI act. Section 2 (f) of the Act states,

 

“information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force”.

 

The PIO contended that the RTI Act does not cast on the public authority any obligation to answer queries, in which a petitioner attempts to elicit answer to the questions with prefixes, such as, why, what, when and whether. The petitioner’s right extends only to seeking information as defined in section 2(f) either by pinpointing the file, document, paper or records, etc, or by mentioning the type of information as may be available with the specified public authority, the PIO stated.

 

While accepting the contention of the PIO that what is asked must be a matter of record, the Commission said the PIO erred in imposing a new set of non-existent exceptions. Looking at the queries of Dhorajiwala, the Commission gave point-wise directions to the PIO...

 

1.       What happened of Tender No. MD/CD/DISP/001/07/REG/L/ which was due on 24/08/2007 for disposal of Unserviceable equipments.

Commissions direction: If there was such a tender, it will be on records and the PIO must provide the information.

 

2.       Let me know why you had not Re-Invite of above tender.

Commission's direction:  If the tender was there and there are any reasons on record why it was not re-invited, the PIO must provide them.

 

3.       Let me know what stage the matter is at present.

Commission's direction: If there is any record of this it must be given.

 

4.       Let me know what action you had taken against the offender. 

5.       Let me know person name who had involved in this matter.

Commission's direction: If there is any offender identified in the matter details of point 4 and 5 would have to given based on the records.

 

Mr Gandhi, while asking the PIO to provide information, said if there are no records about any of the aboe points, then the PIO must state it categorically.

 

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

 

Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2008/00347+00277/1554

http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/SG-09022009-36.pdf

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2008/00347+00277

 

                                                                  

Appellant                                            : TB Dhorajiwala,

                                                            Mumbai - 400008.

 

Respondent 1                                     : Dr Indu Saxena,

                                                            Deputy Registrar(Admn) & P.I.O,

                                                            Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,

                                                            Powai, Mumbai - 400076.

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BSE Sensex, Nifty struggling: Monday Closing Report

The market is in a downtrend. The Nifty will need to close above 5,940 to negate the downtrend for now



The market closed marginally in the positive, on a minor recovery in late trade amid range-bound trade. The market is in a downtrend. The Nifty will need to close above 5,940 to negate the downtrend for now. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) witnessed a volume of 51.67 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 827:875. 

 

The Indian market will remain closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

 

The market opened in the green on positive trends in the Asian markets, which witnessed subdued activity ahead of the holiday season. However, concerns about a solution to the US budget deal weighed on the sentiments.

 

The Nifty opened 21 points higher at 5,869 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,278, up 36 points over its previous close. Bargain hunting after two days of losses led the market to its intraday high in initial trade itself. At the highs, the Nifty touched 5,872 and the Sensex rose to 19,348.

 

Profit booking soon saw the indices paring part of their early gains, but were still trading in the positive. The market was range-bound in the remaining part of the morning session in the absence of any fresh triggers.

 

The market continued to trade sideways as the CAC40 of France and FTSE 100 of the UK opened flat while the German market remained closed today.

 

The market pared all its gains and entered the negative terrain to touch its intraday low at around 2.10pm as selling pressure in oil & gas and metal sectors. At the lows, the Nifty fell to 5,845 and the Sensex slipped to 19,237.

 

However, the market settled off the lows on a minor recovery in the late session. The Nifty added eight points to 5,856 and the Sensex rose 13 points to finish the session at 19,255.

 

The broader markets outperformed the Sensex today as the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.36% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.325.

 

The top sectoral gainers were BSE TECk (up 0.95%); BSE Realty (up 0.91%); BSE IT (up 0.87%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.81%) and BSE Auto (up 0.46%). The main losers were BSE Metal (down 0.53%); BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.43%); BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.16%); BSE PSU (down 0.14%) and BSE Capital Goods (down 0.07%).

 

Only 12 of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Tata Motors (up 2.44%); Wipro (up 1.78%); Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 1.46%); Infosys (up 1.15%) and Tata Power (up 1.09%). The major losers were Jindal Steel & Power (down 1.93%); ONGC (down 1.88%); Maruti Suzuki (down 1.60%); Sterlite Industries (down 1.58%) and Reliance Industries (down 0.36%).

 

The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Lanco Infratech (up 7.42%) and IPCA Laboratories (up 6.36%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Exide Industries (down2.84%) and Videocon Industries (down 2.39%).

 

The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—OCL Iron & Steel (up 19.91%) and Jaykay Enterprises (up 19.88%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Flexituff International (down 13.81%) and Geodesic (down 11.18%).

 

Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 31 stocks settled in the positive. The main gainers were Tata Motors (up 2.71%); Sun Pharma (up 1.82%); DLF (up 1.80%); Lupin (up 1.75%) and Wipro (up 1.65%). Jindal Steel (down 2.44%); UltraTech Cement (down 2.24%); ONGC (down 1.97%); Maruti Suzuki (down 1.88%) and Grasim Industries (down 1.47%) settled at the bottom of the index.

 

Markets across Asia witnessed thin trading and closed mixed on concerns about the US fiscal situation. US policymakers are running out of time to strike a budget deal by year end to avoid triggering more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts. The Japanese and Indonesian markets were closed for trade today.

 

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.27%; the Hang Seng and Straits Times rose 0.16% each and the Seoul composite added 0.07%. Among the losers, the KLSE Composite lost 0.07% and the Taiwan Weighted shed 0.06%.

 

At the time of writing, the CAC 40 of France was down 0.18% while UK’s FTSE 100 was up 0.20%. At the same time, the US stock futures were in the negative, indicating a subdued opening for the US markets.

 

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs115.34 crore on Friday and domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities amounting to Rs258.21 crore.

 

Pharma major Aurobindo Pharma today said it has received final approval from the US FDA manufacture and market Ondansetron injections and is ready to launch the products in the US market.

 

The injections are the generic equivalent of GlaxoSmithKline's Zofran injection, and are indicated for prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of emetogenic cancer chemotherapy or postoperative nausea and/or vomiting. The stock climbed 1.51% to close at Rs195.30 on the NSE.

 

Essar Ports said it has commissioned its 16 million tonne per annum (MTPA) dry bulk terminal at Paradip in Odisha, taking its capacity to 104 MTPA. “The project involved the upgradation and mechanisation of the existing 230 m long berth at Paradip with installation of a fully mechanised ship loading system with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes per hour,” the company said in a statement. The stock jumped 3.73% to settle at Rs95.95 on the NSE.

 

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement with US-based Forest Laboratories to develop drugs to treat chronic inflammatory conditions. Under the agreement, Forest will make a $6 million upfront payment to Glenmark and provide an additional $3 million to support the next phase of work. Glenmark surged 4.28% to settle at Rs521 on the NSE.

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Russian sovereign wealth fund, SBI plan $2 billion investment fund

Once the agreement is in place, RDIF and SBI would team up to facilitate access to long-term capital in Russia and India besides promoting mutual investments

New Delhi: State-owned Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and State Bank of India (SBI) plan to set up a $2 billion investment consortium aimed at promoting mutual investments between the two countries, reports PTI.

 

The $10 billion-RDIF is Russia's sovereign wealth fund.

 

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up the consortium would be signed later Monday between RDIF and SBI, as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to India.

 

"RDIF and State Bank of India would each invest up to $1 billion in the proposed co-investment consortium," RDIF Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev told PTI.

 

The consortium can make investments in India and Russia.

 

"Basically we are creating this platform that has capital allocated for high return projects in interesting sectors, with synergy between India and Russia," Dmitriev said.

 

Once the agreement is in place, RDIF and SBI would team up to facilitate access to long-term capital in Russia and India besides promoting mutual investments.

 

The emphasis would be on projects geared towards higher purchasing power of the population, creation of value addition in the extraction and processing of natural resources as well as development of manufacturing businesses and service sector companies.

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