Saturday, January 16, 2010



Dear  All,


The Karnataka Information Commission order is given below for your valuable suggestion and comments regading Karntaka Highcourt argument before KIC.



 KIC 7522 c/w 7523 COM 2008


  (Sri Firoz M. Khan vs. PIO & Deputy Registrar (Establishment), High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore)


          O R D E R




1.     Petitioner is absent.  Respondent Sri H. M. Mulugund, PIO and Deputy Registrar (Establishment), High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore, is present.


2.     Petition was last heard on 05-10-2009, when Sri Mulugund had sought some time to file his submissions based on an order of the High Court. Sri Mulugund now files his written submissions enclosing a certified copy of the order of the High Court in Writ Petition no. 9418 (SPIO, High Court of Karnataka vs. N. Anbarsan). He argues that according to this order, whatever documents can be obtained under Karnataka High Court Rules, 1959 cannot be sought under Right to Information Act.


3.     On a perusal of the order, it is seen that the Court has said that "Under the rules any person who is a party or not a party to the proceedings, can obtain the orders of the High Court as per the procedure prescribed in the Rules supra."  Further, "As it is open for the Respondent to obtain certified copies of the order sheet pending as well as disposed off matters, the State Chief Information Commissioner is not justified in directing the Petitioner to furnish copies of the same free of cost." (emphasis supplied) and that "the State Chief Information Commissioner should have adverted to the High Court Rules before proceeding further".


4.     The view taken by this Commission so far has been that in cases which are still being heard by the Courts, requests for orders, documents etc. should be made only under High Court Rules / Civil / Criminal Rules of Practice. However, in disposed off cases, requests could be made either under RTI Act or under the High Court Rules / Civil / Criminal Rules of Practice and in such cases, it is not open for the PIO to insist that applicants must seek orders / documents under High Court Rules / Civil / Criminal Rules of Practice only. In respect of disposed off cases also, Commission has held that copies of the orders / documents may be provided subject to the orders passed by the Court, while disposing the case. If the Court has decided that the order or the case papers should not be made public, the information would be exempt from disclosure under section 8(1)(b) of the RTI Act.


5.     Commission also noted that in case of conflict with other laws in force prior to its enactment, RTI Act has overriding effect. According to section 22 of RTI Act, "the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act." The argument advanced by the Respondent has wider implications; because if it is accepted, then the principle which emerges is that any document which can be obtained under any other law cannot be sought under RTI Act. Other Courts have so far been providing copies of judgments / orders / documents sought by the citizens under the Right to Information Act. Commission, with respect, accepts the operative portion of the Court's order in Writ Petition no. 9418, which quashes the order passed by this Commission in KIC 379 COM 2008 on various grounds. But the Commission is of the view that the wider interpretation of the Court's order being advanced by the Respondent needs to be examined closely in public interest.


6.     Commission also noted that it (the Commission) has not been made a party in Writ Petition no. 9418. According to the orders of Karnataka High Court in W. P. No. 7408/2006 (GM-RES) dated 30-03-2007, Karnataka Information Commission is a necessary party to any proceedings before the High Court, in which its orders are challenged. The Court has also cited Supreme Court order in Udit Narain Malpaharia vs. Additional Member, Board of Revenue, Bihar and Another (AIR 1963 SC 786) stating "If such a tribunal or authority is not made a party to the writ, it can easily ignore the order of the High Court quashing its order, for, not being a party, it will not be liable to contempt. In these circumstances, whoever else is a necessary party or not, the authority or tribunal is certainly a necessary party to such a proceeding."


7.     Commission had brought this order of the High Court dated 30-03-2007 in W. P. No. 7408/2006 (GM-RES) to the notice of the Respondent and he had specifically informed this Commission in his written submission dated 21-04-2009 that "steps are being taken to make the Hon'ble Commission a party in WP 9418". But he has not done so.


8.     Commission is advised that because it is not a party in WP 9418, it cannot directly seek a clarification from the Court. Commission therefore decides to consult the Advocate general in the matter. Commission also suggests that if possible, the Respondent may himself get this issue clarified from the Court, so that the orders of the Court could be implemented in letter and spirit.


9.     Petition is adjourned to 30-03-2010 at 3-30 p.m.


10.   Dictated, draft corrected, signed and pronounced in the open court, this 2nd day of December 2009.








KIC 7522 c/w 7523 COM 2008  RPAD / acknowledgement 

Sri H. M. Mulugund,

PIO and Deputy Registrar (Establishment),

High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore – 560 001.


KIC 7522 c/w 7523 COM 2008

Sri Firoz M. Khan,

Camp, G1, Brigade Manor,

5/2, King Street, Bangalore – 560 025.




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