RTI application filed by government servant on official letterhead cannot be rejected,says CIC

An RTI application filed by a government servant on an official letterhead cannot be rejected merely on the ground that it has been filed by him/her in an official capacity,the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has said.

Written by Press Trust Of India | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2009 12:57 am

An RTI application filed by a government servant on an official letterhead cannot be rejected merely on the ground that it has been filed by him/her in an official capacity,the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has said.

“Even assuming that a government servant uses the official letterhead for seeking information…pays fee out of his personal funds,an application submitted under such circumstances cannot be rejected on the ground that it has been filed not by a citizen but by a government servant in an official capacity,” a full Bench of the Commission has said.

J D Sahay,the Chief Commissioner of I-T in Ahmedabad,had applied for empanelment to Central Board of Direct Taxes twice in 2006. But on both occasions,her candidature was turned down. She filed two RTI applications next year,seeking information which could reveal the reasons for her non-selection.

The Department of Revenue in their written submissions claimed that Sahay made all the communications relating to her case in her official capacity as the Chief Commissioner of I-T on the official letterhead of the department.

The department argued that the information could not be provided as rights under the RTI Act are restricted to “citizens of India,” whereas Sahay had filed the same in her official capacity as the Director General of IT,Ahmedabad,and was hence,not covered under the Act.

The Bench headed by CIC Wajahat Habibullah held that the application was submitted in the name of the applicant and it was signed by her in her personal capacity.

The Bench said: “Of course,she has referred to a letter dated August 17,2008 which enumerates the information asked by her. The payment of fees and the fact that it is an application under the RTI Act establishes that the information has been asked by the appellant in her individual capacity and the CPIO is obliged to consider the same.”

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