Monday, May 31, 2010

[rti_india] Sub judice



The second issue is also related with the same place, i.e., the chamber of the Chief Information Commission, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. There the Public Information Officer was not there because he was on leave and thus an assigned official was present. As said earlier, the matter pertained to the file about my application for study leave and the subsequent grant of extra-ordinary leave. In the RTI application, I had asked for all the orders, documents, Note sheets etc related to the above.
When the PIO's turn for explanation about not having given me the requisite documents so far came, he started by producing a letter. The contents of the letter said that when they got the application, they had already asked the seeker of information, viz. me to appear before the PIO to clarify what exactly were the documents that I was asking for. The second reading of my original RTI application made it clear that what I had asked for of was completely unambiguous. Now of all the surprises he came with another plea. This time he said that since the matter was sub-judice (the matter of study leave vs extra-ordinary leave pending in the Central Administrative Tribunal, Lucknow Bench) hence providing the information might adversely affect the case.
Now this was something new for me. As far as I can understand, the reading of the RTI Act 2005 does not tell that documents and information related to a matter that is sub-judice shall not be provided. Section 8(1) (b) does say about information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court. But it does not talk about every case which has become a subject matter of any court. Yet, the PIO-designate did come up with this inprovisation of the provisions given in the RTI Act.
The CIC has ordered the PIO to provide the required information within a certain time-period, giving an option of withholding the information only if there is some just legal ground.
Let us see what comes next in this matter which involves an issue of legal importance. I also request the friends to throw some light over this legal tangle.


Amitabh Thakur
IIM Lucknow
# 94155-34526

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