Thursday, March 31, 2011

Governor is a public authority: Goa Information Commissioner

Goa State Chief Information Commissioner Motilal Kenny on Thursday ruled that the Governor was a “public authority” and does come within the scope of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Mr. Kenny pronounced the verdict on a complaint filed by lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues against Governor S.S. Sidhu. He directed the Public Information Officer at the Raj Bhavan to furnish Mr. Rodrigues within 30 days the information sought by him under the RTI Act.
Mr. Rodrigues complaint against the Governor follows the stand taken by the Raj Bhavan that the Governor is not a public authority and does not come within the purview of the RTI Act.
Mr. Rodrigues had sought from Raj Bhavan, under the RTI Act, details of the action taken on the complaints made by him to Mr. Sidhu against Advocate-General Subodh Kantak. He had sought copies of noting sheets and correspondence pertaining to the processing of his complaints against the Advocate-General.

“Public authority”

Mr. Rodrigues, in his petition to the State Information Commission, said the office of the Governor was a constitutional post within the definition of “public authority” under Section 2 (h) (a) of the RTI Act. He submitted that as the Governor was a public authority, the Raj Bhavan was bound to furnish the information sought and the refusal to furnish information was unreasonable, mala fide and without reasonable cause.
Lawyers appearing for the Raj Bhavan had argued that the Governor was not a “public authority”.

Mr. Rodrigues submitted that the violation of the law by the Head of a State was a bad precedent and was obstructing the enforcement of the RTI Act.

Even the President complied with the provisions of the RTI Act. Mr. Sidhu was the only Governor in the country who was not complying with the RTI Act claiming that he was not a “public authority,” Mr. Rodrigues submitted.

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