Setting a new ground for refusal of information under the RTI Act, the Central Information Commission has said filing of repeated RTI applications by an applicant seeking similar information shall be a reasonable ground for rejecting the plea for which reply has been given.
“The citizens have no right to repeat the same or similar or slightly altered information request under the RTI Act, 2005, for which he already got a response,” the Commission observed on the basis of objectives of the RTI Act and interpretations given by other Information Commissioners.
In an order which might have serious implications on the Right to Information regime, Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu said once an RTI application is answered the appellants shall refrain themselves from filing another RTI application against the public authority.
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“…as once information is received and held by them or posted in public domain, because such information is deemed to have ceased to be ‘held’ by the public authority,” he said basing his arguments on the observations given by previous Information Commissioners and objectives of the RTI Act.
Dismissing the appeals of an RTI applicant Nitesh Tripathi who was repeatedly seeking “information which are highly voluminous,” Acharyulu said first appellate authority (within the department) and Commission may be right and reasonable to consider this as a ground for rejecting the first or second appeal, respectively among other reasons.
“An applicant or appellant repeating the RTI application or appeal either once or multiple times, suppressing the fact of earlier application and receipt of the answer, the CPIO of the public authority may reject it forthwith after intimating it along with reasons,” he said.
Tripathi had filed number of RTI applications to various authorities in the Health Department and Hospitals seeking details on several issues.