Telangana High Court stays internal circular on RTI

Telangana High Court
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 Telangana High Court

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The High Court division bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A Rajashekar Reddy on Monday stayed an order issued by the Telangana Chief Secretary, wherein the Principal Secretaries and Special Chief Secretaries of all departments were directed to instruct their respective Public Information Officers (PIOs) to furnish the information sought from them by the applicants under the RTI Act, only after obtaining consent from the concerned Special Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries

Hyderabad: The High Court division bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A Rajashekar Reddy on Monday stayed an order issued by the Telangana Chief Secretary, wherein the Principal Secretaries and Special Chief Secretaries of all departments were directed to instruct their respective Public Information Officers (PIOs) to furnish the information sought from them by the applicants under the RTI Act, only after obtaining consent from the concerned Special Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries.

The bench was hearing two PILs, one filed by Ganji Srinivas, a social and RTI activist and another by Sri Druthi Chitrapu, a student, seeking suspension of the CS circular.

Advocate General Banda Shivananda Prasad informed the CJ bench that RTI Act, 2005 itself says that the Public Information Officers have to take the assistance of the concerned officers before the information was furnished to the applicant under the RTI Act.

The PIOs have the power under the Act to take the assistance of the concerned officers of the department before the information sought under RTI Act is divulged, argued the Advocate General.

Finding fault with the contentions of the Advocate General, Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said, "You have converted Assistance into Permission and the word Permission is not there in the Act." By saying so, the Chief Justice bench stayed the circular issued by the CS and directed the CS, Principal Secretary, GAD and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India to file their counter affidavits within two weeks.

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