Published On: Tue, Jul 24th, 2018

HC directs Prez Secretariat to give info on list of invitees of official function

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the President’s Secretariat to provide to an RTI applicant the list of invitees for the swearing-in function of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner which was held in 2015 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru

Justice Vibhu Bakhru, in a recent order, said it was an official function and there was no fault with the direction of the Central Information Commission (CIC) asking the CPIO of the President’s Secretariat to provide the list.

The court was dealing with a plea of President’s Secretariat challenging the May 30, 2016 order of the CIC directing it to provide the information as sought by RTI applicant R K Jain.

The information sought under the RTI application included providing the list of invitees to the oath ceremony of Vijai Sharma, the Chief Information Commissioner, and K V Chowdary, the Central Vigilance Commissioner, held on June 10, 2015 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The other details sought were for providing copy of the communications and messages received suggesting names of the guests for issue of the invitations for the oath ceremony and copy of the policy/ guidelines regarding inviting guests to such functions.

The CPIO of the President’s Secretariat had declined to provide any information on list of invitees or the messages received suggesting the names. It had informed that there was no policy or guidelines and the decision on invitees was based on past precedent.

This was challenged by the RTI applicant before the appellate authority and the CIC.

The CIC had held that the information sought was not exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act and had directed the secretariat to provide the details.

In the high court, the RTI applicant’s counsel said he would be satisfied if only the list of invitees for the June 2015 swearing in function of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner was provided to him.

“Since the counsel appearing for Jain does not press for disclosure of any other information, there is no need to examine whether disclosure of such information is exempted under the provisions of the Act.

“It is also, consequently, clarified that the impugned order (of CIC) in this regard is not required to be implemented. And, the petition is disposed of by directing the petitioner (President Secretariat) to provide the list of invitees as sought for by Jain within a period of four weeks…,” the high court said.

PTI

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