National Federation of Information Commissions
in India

If information is denied first appeal is lawful remedy

Bangalore: Applicants seeking information under the Right to Information Act cannot directly approach the State Information Commission on being refused information by public information officers (PIOs). The High Court of Karnataka ruled that applicant will have to first exhaust the lawful remedy under the provision for the first appeal before the first appellate authority within the public authority concerned And, the State Information Commission cannot directly entertain a complaint against the PIOs or initiate action against them for refusing to provide information if the complainant has not used the first appeal provision.

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer of the High Court issued the directions while allowing petitions filed by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (BESCOM) and three of its officers. The petitioners had challenged the action of the State Information Commission in imposing a penalty on the officers besides permitting the applicant, S. Naresh Kumar, to inspect the records that he had sought through PIOs of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (BESCOM).

While original applicant had claimed that he had approached the State Information Commission as the authorities failed to provide him the information, BESCOM contended that its officers had provided the information to the applicant.

It was contended on behalf of BESCOM that the applicant should have approached the first appellate authority, and the State Information Commission cannot entertain a complaint when the applicant had not availed himself of the appeal provision.

The High Court said, “The procedure adopted by the first respondent Karnataka State Information Commission is clearly not permissible in law. If the second respondent i.e. original applicant is aggrieved by the PIO, then he has lawful remedy available to file an appeal under Section 19(1) before the first appellate authority and if aggrieved by the action or inaction of the first appellate authority, then has to file an appeal under Section 19(3) before the second appellate authority. Filing of an application under Section 18(1) of the Act complaining of alleged inaction of the PIO is clearly not permissible in law.”

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 10:46  

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