In an order that is expected to help increase flow of government information in public domain, Goa State Information Commissioner (SIC) M.S. Keny recently ruled that the purpose of the Right to Information (RTI) Act was not merely to provide information to information seeker on demand but to create conditions whereby people would have minimum occasion to request for information. Giving his ruling in a complaint filed before Goa State Information Commission by Jowett D' Souza of Colva in South Goa, the SIC gave a direction to the State Police Department to comply with Section 4(a) and (b) to make available maximum possible information on affairs of the public authority in the public domain and stated that the Chief Secretary on his part had to see that public authorities comply with Section 4(1)(a) and (b) in letter and spirit. The Police Department had been directed to comply with the provisions of Section 4(1)(a) and (b) within two months and file a report on April 4, 2011.

“This type of situation is not impossible, but can be created by a proactive disclosure of information by public authority,” he said.

The SIC said the right to information could not be protected unless records were properly maintained by the public authority. It was mandatory that every public authority to publish within 120 days from the enactment of the Act the details of office, organisational duties, etc., as mentioned in Section 4 of the Act.

As regards the grievance about the first appellate authority in the Police Department, the SIC ruled that principles of natural justice required that a fair opportunity had to be given to the parties by any appellate authority.