Patna high court has quashed the Bihar Right to Information Rule, Section 6(2), 2006 as per which an order from the first appellant authority before filing second appeal in the state information commissions.
The court has now asked the state government to amend the RTI rule, 2006 as per section 19 (3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
As per RTI Act, 2005 an appeal can be filed even if the order is not issued.
NCPRI along with several other RTI activist had opposed the Bihar RTI Rule, 2006, calling it anti-people.
Here is the full statement by NCPRI:
National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) welcomes the verdict of the Patna High Court which has quashed the Bihar Right to Information Rule, Section 6(2) ( in the case of Shiv Prakash Singh vs State of Bihar) and directed the state government to amend the Bihar RTI Rule, 2006 as per section 19 (3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The Bihar RTI Rule, 2006 does not recognize the position in the Right to Information Act, 2005, 19(3) which states that an appeal may be filed even if the order is not issued. This is indicated by the words "A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received,…"
As per this rule it was necessary to get an order from the first appellant authority before filing 2nd appeal in the state information commission.
This rule was not enforced by the commission until Mr. Ashok Kr. Choudhary took over as the Chief Information Commissioner. Under his leadership the state information commission rejected thousands of 2nd appeal in 2011-2012 citing lack of order from 1st appellant authority.
NCPRI along with several other RTI activist groups had opposed the decision. It was felt that this particular rule was misused to essentially reduce the number of pending cases in the commission.This practice was later reversed by the current Chief Information Commissioner Mr. RJM Pillai. However, today’s decision is very important as it removes the scope of such anti people interpretations/decisions.
NCPRI has since demanded that instead of using such anti people measures the state should appoint more Information Commissioners to dispose the increasing number of applications. Currently there are only three Information Commissioners and soon there will be only two as one of the commissioners, Mr. Farzand Ahmad, will retire this year.
NCPRI with help of RTI activist Mr. Shiv Prakash Rai challenged the Bihar RTI Rule, 2006 through a writ petition in the Patna High Court. Advocate Rakesh Kr. Jha and Nitiranjan Jha represented the petitioner Mr. Shiv Prakash Rai in this case.