1. ‘Justice A P Shah objected to abatement clause of RTI rules in 2011’

‘Justice A P Shah objected to abatement clause of RTI rules in 2011’

The new RTI draft rule seeking abatement of proceedings with the death of appellants was objected to by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah in 2011.

By: | New Delhi | Published: April 5, 2017 11:42 PM
Swaraj India, Chander Shekhar, Sanjiv Khanna, MCD elections 2017, Yogendra Yadav, Delhi High Court Reacting to the proposed rules, Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative today said that a lot has changed since 2007.(PTI)

The new RTI draft rule seeking abatement of proceedings with the death of appellants was objected to by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah in 2011. The file notings accessed by activist Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra under the Right To Information (RTI) Act show that Shah had echoed the apprehensions of civil society members that the clause may encourage killing of applicants.

“The Information Commission is not a civil court and thus the provisions in the Central Information Commission (CIC) relating to abatement of proceedings in the face of the death of the party have no application to the proceedings under the RTI Act,” he had suggested to the National Advisory Council and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) while framing the RTI rules in 2011.

In the proposed RTI rules for 2017, the Centre has brought in the provisions of abatement of proceedings with the death of RTI applicant and allowing withdrawal of appeal, which was part of the Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2007.

The plea challenging the validity of CIC rules is pending before the Supreme Court.

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Shah agreed with the proposition of DoPT that RTI was the right of an individual filing the application and the proceedings would end upon his death, but added that having such provision in the rules was “not at all desirable” as it may result into killing of the applicant.

Reacting to the proposed rules, Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative today said that a lot has changed since 2007.

“Till 2008 there were hardly any reports of information seekers being killed or assaulted by people with vested interests. But today, there are at least 64 reported cases of murder, 157 cases of assault and 167 cases of threat and harassment as per media (English language) reports,” he claimed.

Nayak said, “What was an aberration in 2007 when the CIC regulations were issued, has become a gory phenomenon of attacks on RTI users over the last 10 years.

“Instead of dropping the appeal on death of information seekers, the RTI rules must empower the CIC to direct proactive disclosure of all information sought in accordance with the provisions of the Act,” he added.

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    Prem Aditya
    Apr 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm
    Financial Express has been always in the forefront in commenting on RTI matters, the above post regarding revision of RTI Rules 2017 is a very hot topic. In this context it is pertinent to see what exactly the RTI Act says and what is being made of it while revising Rules 2012. The difference between courts and tribunals is very thin. Courts remain concerned with a very large range of enactments, and tribunals are strictly devoted to the Statute under which tribunal functions. Incidentally, in case of RTI Act, and in terms of Section 18, there is a mention u/s 18(3): "The Commission shall while inquirig into any matter under this section have same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of matters listed under (a) to (f). 19(4) adds more grit. The existing Appeal Rules 2012, are being revised in 2017 so as to include also Rules regarding complaints, which is not permissible in law.,
    Reply

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