The Bombay High Court has held that the State Chief Information Commissioner has powers under Right to Information Act (RTI) to transfer State Information Commissioner from one region to another for the purpose of ensuring that the Commission functions in a smooth manner.
This significant ruling was delivered by a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, who recently held that the State Chief Information Commissioner has such powers under section 15(4) of RTI Act to transfer State Information Commissioners from one region to another.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a Pune-based journalist Vijay Kumbhar challenging transfer of Ravindra Jadhav, State information Commissioner posted at Amravati, to another place.
Jadhav did not challenge his transfer but Kumbhar filed a petition challenging the transfer of Jadhav from Amravati to another place on the ground that the State Chief Information Officer had no powers under RTI Act to transfer State Information Commissioners. The high court was satisfied that the petitioner was a responsible public activist and hence it permitted him to file this petition as a PIL.
“In our view, the State Chief Information Commissioner has powers under section 15 (4) of RTI Act to transfer State Information Commissioners from one place to another to ensure smooth functioning of the Commissions in the State,” the bench ruled.
“If there is any curb on his authority, the very aim and object of having the State Information Commission would be rendered nugatory and would be defeated. We do not see any substance in the petition,” said the bench. “The petition is therefore dismissed and the interim order passed earlier stands vacated,” the bench ruled.
“It has to be remembered that the RTI Act was passed in order to ensure that there is transparency in the functioning of the Governments and their instrumentalities. In a democratic country, citizens are required to be informed about the manner in which the governments and their authorities function so that there is no scope for arbitrary action and also to contain corruption and lastly to hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable,” the bench further observed.