Trying to run simultaneous/ parallel inquiry through stream of RTI questions is misuse of RTI Act

Central Information Commission (CIC): “The RTI is not a rendezvous for suspended employees or those erring personnel facing inquiries to serve their personal interests in protecting their misconduct or preventing the authorities from proceeding with penal proceedings enquiring into misconduct,” observed CIC while rejecting an appeal filed by a TGT teacher who sought information in respect to a charge-sheet issued to him. The appellant was charge-sheeted by State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT), for financial irregularities in organizing a workshop and defaulting in arranging resource person and making payment to them. He sought information regarding the charge-sheet and enquiry conducted in the matter from SCERT. As the appellant was not satisfied with the information provided, he approached the Commission. It was alleged by the appellant that due to the non-availability of information, investigation in the matter is pending. The appellant also laid charges of harassment upon other officials. After perusing the documents and hearing both the parties, CIC observed, “Here in this case, the appellant is unleashing his private vengeance against colleagues or seniors who are either inquiring or informing or complaining or giving evidence against him. Thus such information sought under RTI would squarely fall under exempted category under Section 8(1)(h) (‘information which would impede process of investigation or prosecution of offenders’) of RTI Act, 2005 as this would not only impede the investigation or inquiry against him, but also impede the inquiries against all such erring employees who will be encouraged or tempted to use RTI for such private, illegal and vengeful purpose.” CIC further observed that RTI is not for the disgruntled employees facing disciplinary proceedings or selfish persons seeking private vengeance but for the people in general, only in public interest, and never for the private vengeance at all. While considering the matter as another case of misuse of RTI Act by the charge-sheeted employee, by instituting a parallel or counter interrogatory questionnaire through multiple questions under RTI Act, CIC rejected the appeal and directed the appellant to face the inquiry with all material he has and cooperate with the inquiry officer to complete the process in reasonable time. (Ram Kishan v. State Council of Educational Research & Training, 2015 SCC OnLine CIC 4871, decided on 19-8-2015)

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