The decision of the Central Information Commission that electronic voting machines (EVMs) fall within the definition of “information” under the RTI Act was set aside by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
Allowing the Election Commission’s appeal against the CIC’s order, Justice Jayant Nath observed that the production of EVM models cannot be sought under RTI application. The court’s order came on a plea by the poll panel challenging the CIC’s February 12 order, by which it was held that EVM, which is available with the EC in a material form and as sample, is an information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
The CIC had decided this on a plea by Rajasthan resident Razaak K Haidar, who sought access to an EVM maintained by the EC under the RTI Act. Haidar had argued that as per Section 2(f) and 2(i) of the RTI Act, the definition of ‘information’ and ‘record’ also includes ‘any model or any sample’ held by a public authority. He initially filed an application with the Central Public Information Officer designated by the EC seeking access to an EVM maintained by the poll panel. It was rejected, after which he appealed before the Appellate Authority, which reiterated that the request is beyond RTI scope. He then approached the CIC.
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