Monday, August 15, 2011

RTI not a tool for oppressing public officials: SC

The Supreme Court said the RTI Act is not meant to be a “tool for oppression” of public authorities, saying the nation cannot afford to have the honest public official bogged down with all and sundry requests unrelated to corruption.

“The nation does not want a scenario where 75 per cent of the staff of public authorities spends 75 per cent of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties,” a bench of Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik.

The court said that requests for “all and sundry” information unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption would render the information law counter-productive.

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