Before I got this subject to compose upon, I didn’t have a smallest thought regarding the presence of such commission in our nation. Yet, it is very intriguing to think about the working and authority of it. So simply save 5 minutes, only 5 to know about the commission and particularly being a law understudy, you should definitely give it a read.
Well, for starters, CIC was constituted in the year 2005 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. It is majorly constituted for the complaints against the public information officer and has powers guaranteed under sec 18, 19, 20 and 25 of the said Act. Majorly it works for the proper implementation of the right to information of the people. One of the interesting facts is that the commission has the same powers as that of a civil court trying a suit under CPC. Furthermore, all the orders passed by the commission are final and binding.
Moving to the main course, there are several very interesting judgements of the commission. Some will leave you like, “Wow!!! This commission has such cool powers.” and some will leave you like, “Oh!! I read the judgement but didn’t know that it was the information commission behind it.”
Although the commission functions under RTI act the commission in the case of Celso Pinto v. Goa State Information Commission held that the question of ‘why’ does not come under the ambit of definition of information. This gives a privilege to the authority not to answer how/why/when of an act done.
Now is the time to alert every legally married couple you know that in the case of Prashansa Sharma v. Delhi Transco Ltd. The commission ordered that income related information such as annual returns of assets, investments, IT returns not being personal information cannot be withheld from each other between the spouses. Though the savings accounts, IT returns and other investments are considered personal, they could be disclosed in public interest as per proviso of Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act.
The above provision in many other cases has been used out of suspicion of the other spouse having extra marital affair and transferring the part of salary for the same. Some also used it for checking if any dowry transfer took place. Hence, beware!!!!!!
But with the Amendment Act, 2019, has made central information commission a puppet in the hands of the central government taking away their independence. Being declared as a full subordinate under the government, the essence of the commission sees to fade away. Most importantly, the Right to information act given to the citizens to have a check on government seems in a grave danger.
This post was written by Nandini Gupta, IInd year