February 18, 2024
Delhi High Court Overturns CIC Order on PM CARES Fund Information Disclosure
Courts & Law Breaking News

Delhi High Court Overturns CIC Order on PM CARES Fund Information Disclosure

Delhi High Court Overturns CIC Order on PM CARES Fund Information Disclosure

Delhi High Court Overturns CIC Order on PM CARES Fund Information Disclosure

In a significant development, the Delhi High Court has nullified an order by the Central Information Commission (CIC) instructing the disclosure of information about the PM CARES Fund to an RTI applicant. The high court emphasized that the information sought was directed at the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Income Tax Department, not the PM CARES Fund itself. Justice Subramonium Prasad highlighted the necessity for adhering to Section 11 of the RTI Act, which mandates notice to a third party, especially when seeking information related to that party.

Legal Scrutiny: CIC Criticized for Procedural Oversight

The court underscored that the CIC should have followed the procedure specified in Section 11 of the RTI Act before ordering the disclosure of information. The jurisdictional limitations of the CIC in directing the furnishing of information outlined in Section 138 of the IT Act were also emphasized. The court observed that even if the CIC had jurisdiction, the failure to notify PM CARES Fund of the hearing would have vitiated the order.

Judicial Perspective: CIC Lacks Jurisdiction to Direct Information Disclosure

The court firmly stated that the CIC does not have the jurisdiction to mandate the furnishing of information as outlined in Section 138 of the IT Act. The failure to give PM CARES Fund notice of the hearing further contributed to the decision to set aside the CIC’s April 27, 2022 order. The ruling recognizes the importance of legal procedures and ensures a fair and just approach in matters of information disclosure.

The decision is seen as a critical legal interpretation, emphasizing the procedural intricacies involved in seeking information related to third parties under the RTI Act.

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