Friday, January 8, 2010

Re: [rti_india] Re: Plenary Powers


    Dear Shri Jam

            If you analyse the sequence before you approach SIC with your appeal or a complaint, it would clearly emerge that PIO had not provided the information requisitioned by you. An Appellant normally approached SIC after first making an Appeal to First Appellate Authority. All this would certainly consume time beyond 30 days, exact time varying on a case to case. In terms of provision of Sec 7(6), if the information is not provided within the timeframe {30 days} specified under Sec 7(1), it would be provided free of charge. In the situation described by you, IC ordering for information to be provided free of charge is nothing great, it is the provision of Law which even IC is also under a mandatory obligation to abide. SO THERE IS NO NEED TO READ TOO MUCH INTO IC's ORDER FOR PROVIDING INFORMATION FREE OF CHARGE. IC IS JUST ENFORCING THE PROVISION OF LAW ON THIS COUNT and  IT IS JUST PLAINLY SIMPLE.. IC HAS  INDUCED CONFUSION BY USING HIGH SOUNDING WORDS '"PLENARY AUTHORITY" IN HIS ORDER. 

      I hope, this makes the position clear


--- On Fri, 8/1/10, C K Jam <> wrote:

From: C K Jam <>
Subject: Re: [rti_india] Re: Plenary Powers
Date: Friday, 8 January, 2010, 9:16 AM


Dear Mr Sarbajit , Mr Nangia and others,

Thanks for enlightening me on "plenary powers".

But does "plenary power" allow the IC to order information to be given free, or a limited number of pages to be given free and the rest to be charged (something like only upto 50 pages to be supplied free), or the RTI application to be considered even though the fee was not paid or was paid by a mode which is not prescribed in the rules ?

Once the appropriate government or the competent authority has passed rules under Sec 27 and 28, can such 'plenary powers" be exercised ?

To me it looks more like "discretionary power" rather than "plenary power".


From: sarbajitr <sroy1947@yahoo. com>
To: rti_india@yahoogrou
Sent: Thu, January 7, 2010 11:20:03 PM
Subject: [rti_india] Re: Plenary Powers


The core of the "plenary power" definition (as per Wikipedia -cited without comment) is "a power that has been granted to a body in absolute terms, with no review of, or limitations upon, the exercise of the power. The assignment of a plenary power to one body divests all other bodies from the right to exercise that power."

It is undeniable that such powers have been bestowed exclusively upon the Information Commissions. To take a specific example.

1) After the coming into force of the RTI Act no other "body" is empowered to enquire into and decide "complaints" under the specified grounds of section 18(1). Neither are there any limitations placed upon the exercise of the Commission's powers when it comes to deciding complaints, in fact the powers of a Curt for evidence are bestowed upon CIC by 18(3). 19(7) further states that the CIC's decision shal be binding. 19(8) explicitly conforms that the CIC may in its decision take any steps to ensure compliance with the RTI Act. 19(8) also gives the CIC powers to award compensation for damages suffered by a complainant whose complaint has been found to fall under the specified ground(s). Furthermore section 23 excludes the jurisdiction of the courts in all matters to which the CIC has been granted powers.

It is thus very clear that the CIC does indeed plenary powers. It is very surprising to me that the persons from NCPRI who are champions of RTI and RTI advocacy etc hold a different view, and I would welcome some inputs into where my analysis is faulty.

2) I think it is also pertinent to mention that I was the one who first illuminated the CIC about its (plenary) powers. Our members may recall this order of CIC in my case (which I had to substantially draft myself because the CIC are a bunch of retards) in/CIC-Orders/ Decision_ 30112006_ 12.pdf at page 19 para 24 a SC judgement I located is included

"24) In the same case, the Hon'ble Apex Court has also cited with approval the following observations in Union of India Vs. Paras Laminates (P) Ltd. case:-

"There is no doubt that the Tribunal functions as a Court within the
limits of jurisdiction. It has all the powers conferred expressly by the statute. Furthermore, being a judicial body, it has all those incidental and ancillary powers that are necessary to make fully effective the express grant of statutory powers. Certain powers are recognized as incidental and ancillary, not because they are inherent in the Tribunal, nor because its jurisdiction is plenary, but because it is the legislative intent that the power, which is expressly granted in the assigned field of jurisdiction, is efficaciously and meaningfully exercised. The powers of the Tribunal are no doubt limited. Its area of jurisdiction is clearly defined, but within the bounds of its jurisdiction. It has all the powers expressly and impliedly granted.""


--- In rti_india@yahoogrou, Maja Daruwala <maja.daruwala@ ...> wrote:
> Dear Shri Jam:
> Mr Nangia has explained it right.There is no such plenary power mentioned in
> the RTI and its best that authorities dont use it to carve out powers they
> dont have. take a look at wikipedia - plenary powers for more explanation.
> MD
> 2010/1/7 suresh nangia <sknangia2004@ ...>
> >
> >
> >
> > Dear Shri Jam
> >
> > The query posed by you appeared interesting to me and I am prompted
> > to respond on this. The word "plenary powers" does not find place anywhere
> > in the RTI Act. Chapter V of the Act detailing Sections 18 to 20, is the
> > only part of the Act which comments on the Powers and Functions of
> > Information Commissioners and nowhere we find this word plenary used in any
> > of the Sections. The dictionary meaning of "plenary" is absolute,
> > unqualified ,to be attended by all members. IC named by you, in my opinion,
> > uses the word "plenary powers" presumably to convey that he is ordering for
> > the information to be provided free of charge / without payment of any fee,
> > by exercising the absolute authority vested under the Act. To me, it does
> > not appear to convey anything beyond that.
> >
> > --- On *Wed, 6/1/10, C K Jam <rtiwanted@. ..>* wrote:
> >
> >
> > From: C K Jam <rtiwanted@. ..>
> > Subject: [rti_india] Plenary Powers
> > To: rti_india@yahoogrou
> > Date: Wednesday, 6 January, 2010, 9:38 PM
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Can someone on the group please explain what are "plenary powers".
> >
> > IC MLS is frequently citing something called "plenary powers" to order
> > information
> > without payment of additional fees, to return application fee etc. by using
> > "plenary powers".
> >
> > Is there any provision in the RTI Act for such "plenary powers' vested in
> > the IC's ?
> > In which section ?
> >
> > RTIwanted
> >
> >
> > ------------ --------- ---------
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> >
> >
> --
> Maja Daruwala
> Director
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