Chennai: The Madras high court deleted on Tuesday certain general observations made by it in its earlier order which stated that an RTI application should contain bare minimum details or reasons for which the information is sought for. Deleting the observations made in paragraph 20 and 21 of its order dated September 17, a division bench, comprising justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and K. Ravichandrabaabu, said a person seeking information is not required to give any reason for doing so.
The bench said on September 17, it had allowed a petition and quashed the order of the Central information commission (which directed the public information officer of the Madras HC to furnish information which included administrative matters of judiciary to an RTI applicant). In the order, it had made certain general observations stating that RTI application should contain bare minimum details or reasons for which the information was sought.
Separately and on coming to know of the order, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan pointed to section 6 (2) of the RTI Act, and said the Madras HC order was against the letter and spirit of the Act. The bench said its general observations were made without noticing section 6 (2) of the RTI Act, which reads, “An applicant making a request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.”
Therefore, it is evident that a person seeking information was not required to give any reason for doing so. Hence, the general observations made in the order was an error, apparent on the face of the record, and contrary to the statutory provision. The error had been noticed by it after pronouncing the order and in order to rectify it, the bench had Monday directed the registry to post this matter Tuesday under the caption ‘Suo Motu Review’, the bench added. The bench said, “We are of the view that those two paragraphs of the said order have to be deleted. Accordingly, paragraph 20 and 21 are deleted in the order. The suo motu review application is disposed of.”