JAIIB LRAB Unit 65 - Right to Information and Obligations of Public Authorities

JAIIB LRAB Unit 65 - Right to Information and Obligations of Public Authorities (Year: 2019)

OBLIGATIONS OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

 

PIOs (Public Information Officers) are officers designated by the public authorities in all administrative units or offices under it to provide information to the citizens that request for information under the Act. Any officer, whose assistance has been sought by the PIO for the proper discharge of his or her duties, shall render all assistance, whenever demanded.

 

PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING INFORMATION

 

PIO shall deal with requests from persons seeking information and where the request cannot be made in writing, to render reasonable assistance to the person to reduce the same in writing.

 

If the information requested for is held by or its subject matter is closely connected with the function of another public authority, the PIO shall transfer, within five days, the request to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately.

 

PIO may seek the assistance of any other officer for the proper discharge of his/her duties.

 

PIO, on receipt of a request, shall as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in 8.8 or 8.9 of the Act.

 

Where the information requested for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

 

DISPOSAL OF REQUEST

 

(a) If the PIO fails to give a decision on the request within the period specified, he shall be deemed to have refused the request.

 

Where a request has been rejected, the PIO shall communicate to the requester -

 

(i) the reasons for such rejection,

(ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred,

(iii) the particulars of the appellate authority.

 

PIO shall provide the information in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.

 

If allowing partial access, the PIO shall give a notice to the applicant, informing:

 

(a) that only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided;

(b) the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based;

(c) the name and designation of the person giving the decision;

(d) the details of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which the applicant is

required to deposit; and

(e) his or her rights with respect to review of the decision regarding non-disclosure of part of the information, the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided.

 

If information sought has been supplied by a third party or is treated as confidential by that third party, the PIO shall give a written notice to the third party within five days from the receipt of the request and take its representation into consideration.

 

Third party must be given a chance to make a representation before the PIO within ten days from the date of receipt of such notice.

 

(b) Payment of fees

 

As per the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005, the application shall be accompanied by a fee of rupees ten. It may be paid in cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or a banker's cheque or by Indian Postal Order. The instrument is payable to the accounts officer of the public authority.

 

(c) Disposal of the request

 

Where the application is received by another public authority or the information is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the application shall be transferred to that other public authority within five days from the date of the receipt of the application and inform the applicant about the transfer.

 

If the application relates to the public authority receiving it, the information shall be provided as expeditiously as possible but within thirty days.

 

If the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

 

The applicant is required to pay the charges for providing the information. The rules prescribe the charges for computing the cost. The charges are computed at the following rates:

 

(a) rupees two for each page in A-4 or A-3 size paper created or copied;

(b) actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper;

(c) actual cost or price for samples or models; and

(d) for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour and a fee of rupees five for each fifteen

minutes or fraction thereof thereafter.

 

(d) Third Party information

 

Third party means a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority. Where a Central Public Information Officer intends to disclose any information or record or part thereof which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer shall

within five days from the date of receipt of the request give a written notice to such third party that he intends to disclose the information.

 

(e) Rejection of the request

 

The request for Information may be rejected where such a request for providing access would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting in a person other than the State.

 

Where a request has been rejected, the Central Public Information Officer shall communicate to the person making the request the reasons for such rejection, the particulars of the appellate authority and the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred.

 

(f) Information exempt from disclosure

 

The Act lists certain categories of information that is exempt from disclosure. These include:

 

(a) information, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity

of India;

(b) disclosure of information expressly forbidden by law or may constitute contempt of court;

(c) disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or of the State Legislature;

(d) information relating to commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property;

(e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship;

(f) information received in confidence from foreign government;

(g) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person;

(h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;

(i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.

 

APPEAL

 

The Central Government has the powers to constitute a body known as the Central information commission. The State Governments have the power to constitute for the State a body known as the State Information Commission to administer the provisions of the Act where the State Government is the appropriate authority.

 

The Central Information Commission (also the State Information Commission wherever it has the jurisdiction) has been empowered to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person

 

(a) who has been unable to Central Public Information Officer; or his application for information or appeal was refused to be received by the Central Assistant Public Information Officer;

(b) who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act;

(c) who has not been given a response to a request for information;

(d) who has been required to pay a fee which he considers unreasonable;

(e) who believes he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information;

(f) in respect of any other matter under this Act.

 

Any person who does not receive a decision within the time specified (normally thirty days) or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such decision.

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