HC directive to pay litigation cost
Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque allowing a writ petition filed by Mannatil Kumar directed the Public Information Officer of the Ministry to provide the information sought by the petitioner.
: The Kerala High Court has directed the information officer in Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, Central Information Commissioner, to pay a litigation cost of Rs. 3,000 to an information seeker for refusing to provide him information under the Right to Information Act.
Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque while allowing a writ petition filed by Mannatil Kumar of Kochi directed the Public Information Officer of the Ministry to provide the information sought by the petitioner.
The petitioner, a retired employee of Cochin Shipyard had sought information under the Right to Information Act regarding the outcome on his representation filed before the Minister of State for Human Resources. The representation highlighted denial of growth opportunities of the Cochin Shipyard. As the petitioner did not receive any response on his representation, he sought information from the public information officer. The officer then replied that the representation was “beyond the scope of responsibilities of Minister of State for Human Resources”. The Central Information Commission had also rejected his appeal against the department decision.
The court observed that the information already available on the records had to be supplied to the petitioner under the RTI Act. Seeking redressal of grievances and obtaining information were different. As far as the Right to Information Act was concerned, what was expected to be provided was regarding the information that existed in available files. The nature of information sought for was on the nature of disposal of his representation. It could be responded by either stating that this was considered/not considered/what transpired on the file. If nothing had been acted upon such representation, the information officer could say so. It seemed that authorities had not understood the very scope of seeking information under the Act.