Madurai

RTI applicant surprised by High Court official's response

An applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, who wanted to know the status of a case originally filed before the principal seat of the Madras High Court in Chennai in 2001 and subsequently transferred to its Madurai Bench in 2004, has taken by surprise by the response asking her to appear in person for verification of her identity, residential address and signature.

M. Shanthi of Karur had filed an RTI application on February 25 seeking details of a civil miscellaneous appeal filed by an insurance company in 2001 against a judgment passed by a lower court earlier. Stating that the case was not listed for hearing for a long time, she sought to know whether it was still pending or had been disposed of.

N. Vijayakumar, Deputy Registrar (Administration) of the Bench and also Assistant Public Information Officer, replied to the application on March 3. Instead of giving a direct answer to the question, he asked the woman applicant to approach her advocate for obtaining the required information.

Not satisfied with the reply, Ms. Shanthi filed an appeal, under the RTI Act, before the Registrar (Administration) of the High Court Bench on March 13, 2010.

Subsequently, she received another letter from R. Susheela Devi, Deputy Registrar (RTI) dated March 31 asking her to come to the Bench during office hours at the earliest for verification of her residential address and signature.

The issue gains significance in view of the fact that there is no provision in the RTI Act which entitles a public information officer to ask an applicant to prove his/her identity. Section 6(2) of the Act categorically states a person seeking information need not give any personal details except those that were required for contacting him.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:25:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/RTI-applicant-surprised-by-High-Court-officials-response/article16364792.ece

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