New Delhi: Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked government employees to guard against “frivolous” RTI applications in their own offices to seek personal information.
“A large number of government employees are seeking information for promotion of their personal interest. This is done on pretext of serving the public cause, without realising the extent of distortions that it causes in use of public resources due to putting up of frivolous applications by them for self-interest,” Information Commissioner M M Ansari said.
The CIC’s observations came in a recent order while disposing of the application of K C Vijayakumaran Nair, a Chief Post Master General, who had sought from the Department of Posts information on the officer who had queried on his admission to a doctorate course.
In a bid to discourage such RTI applications, it said “they (government officers) ought to exercise restraints in misusing the Act, lest they should dilute the mandate of RTI Act to empower the common man.”
Underlining the objectives of the transparency legislation, it said “under the RTI, the employees are not expected to question the decisions of the superior officers in the garb of seeking information”.
Nair had earlier moved an application with the Postal Department seeking to know the officers’ name who had objected to his admission to a Ph D course and had also sought file notings on the same.
Nair’s RTI request with CIC against the Department’s denial to disclose the file notings was turned down on grounds that the information sought was for promotion of his personal interest.
The Commission in its recently notified regulations has called for strict scrutiny of every RTI application before they are put up before the Information Commissioners for hearing.
The Regulations have delegated greater powers to its Registrar to look into the maintainability of an RTI application.