State Information Commission directs Coimbatore Corporation to furnish information to petitioner
Over a year ago, Right to Information (RTI) activist S.P. Thiyagarajan had asked the Coimbatore Corporation to furnish the number of resolutions the Council under special officers had passed from October 2016 to May 2020.
In his RTI petition of May 28, 2020 he had sought the number of resolutions, month-wise. To date, the activist had not received a reply. But his persistence to access the information had paid off as the State Information Commission had asked the civic body to furnish the information before July 21, 2021. “At the time of filing the information, little did I realise that it would be a long drawn battle,” he said.
He had sought the details because the Corporation had stopped making public the resolutions the Council under special officers had passed. To his petition of May 28, 2020, the Public Information Officer/Council Secretary had replied on June 1, 2020 with a question – have you sought information on the total number of resolutions passed month-wise or the list of total resolutions passed as information.
If the petitioner could clarify the details sought and file a fresh application under the RTI Act, the Corporation could then consider the same, the Council Secretary had said. A few days later Mr. Thiyagarajan filed a fresh RTI application seeking month-wise number of resolutions passed from October 2016 to May 2020. In response to this application, the Council Secretary replied that the Corporation was unable to furnish the information sought for because it amounted to creating new information.
The Corporation, as per RTI Act, was duty bound to furnish only those information on its files and therefore, the request could not be complied with. Against this “evasive reply”, Mr. Thiyagarajan said he had moved an appeal with the first appellate officer/Deputy Commissioner, who only reiterated what the Council Secretary had said.
Therefore, he was left with little choice but to move the State Information Commission seeking the information and action against both the Council Secretary and Deputy Commissioner, the petitioner said and added that he had wanted the Commission to fine both the officers. He had moved the Commission on September 4, 2020.
In response to his complaint, the Commission had asked the Council Secretary to provide complete information before July 21 and informed him that if the information were incomplete he could represent the same. Mr. Thiyagarajan said that the Corporation could not provide even the number of resolutions passed, let alone the details of those resolutions, only showed how poor had been the administration in the past.