Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Admin difficulties can’t be cited to deny info under RTI, says HC

Pronouncing a series of pro-transparency judgments on Thursday, the Madras high court held that administrative difficulties cannot be cited to deny information to applicants under the RTI Act. Justice K Chandru, who delivered three judgments in all, said: "The right to information having been guaranteed by the law of Parliament, the administrative difficulties in providing information cannot be raised. Such pleas will defeat the very right of citizens to have access to information."The first matter relates to an application made to the Tamil Nadu Archives for information relating to old maps, settlement records and title deeds. The archives authorities said they were only custodians of records and they were not bound to provide any information to anyone.Noting that the archives had 65 lakh documents concerning 45 government departments, it said without the consent of the parent department the information sought cannot be furnished. Rejecting the submissions, Justice Chandru said Tamil Nadu Archives is a public authority and that since it is empowered to retain records, it cannot object to the disclosure of such information.

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