CIC Issues Directions for Implementation of Section 7(1) of RTI Act, 2005

A complaint against the Central Public Information Officer, University of Delhi filed before the Central Information Commission. Sh. Mohit Kumar Gupta filed the complaint under section 18 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act“). He was a counsel to 12 minor and 4 major girls. The Principal of Daulat Ram College arbitrarily cancelled/withdrew their admission under sports quota in 2018.

The complainant could not file an RTI under section 7(1) of the RTI Act i.e. ‘Life or Liberty (to be responded within 48 hours of receipt). This was because the online portal did not provide the facility for the same. Subsequently, the first appeal by email to the University of Delhi also rejected. The complainant requested the Commission to direct inquiry under section 18 of RTI Act. But to no avail. Thereafter, he requested the Commission to direct the respondents to make available the option of filing RTIs under section 7(1) on the portal. Mr. Gupta went onto request directions to all First Appellate Authorities to dispose of First Appeals relating to section 7(1) as expeditiously as possible.

Consequently, the Commission observed that “the concerns raise a much larger issue and access to information must be a priority”. It noted that making the option available online would lead to a flooding of applications under section 7(1). Therefore, it issued an advisory to Secretary DoPT to evolve a system after coordinating with the Director-General, NIC in spirit of the RTI Act; and take immediate steps towards providing a platform for the implementation of section 7(1) of the RTI Act. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission asked all public authorities to encourage RTI through e-mail in life and liberty matter.