Rejecting RTI applications on unjustifiable grounds

Can RTI applications be rejected merely on the ground that they had been filed under a particular provision when the information sought for has no bearing on this condition or when the main content and purpose of the application remains the same ? Again, despite repeated directives from the Central Information Commission (CIC) that there was no justification for causing inordinate delays in disposal of RTI queries, the position in most of the cases continues to remain the same? Can, just by applying ordinary discretion and volition , the basic thing not be understood about repeal or amendment of any law cannot affect the previous operation of any law (under any constitutional or administrative changes) that a plea could be put forth about non admissibility of any RTI application? Again, to clear the mist about all such half baked information acquired about the sensitive issue of RTI in whichever departments in disposing of any information or query asked for , CIC has very clearly told all the Public Information Officers (PIOs)of the Public Authorities of the Union Territory to treat such queries under the provisions of the RTI Act irrespective of under which law the same were filed.
The other concern about the issue is the lack of expected zeal and early response in respect of expeditious and efficacious disposal of the RTI applications to lend due credibility and importance to the Right to Information Act enacted by the Parliament. ‘Excelsior’ has through these columns, eloquently highlighted many times , the importance of disposal of RTI applications as early as possible to let the very purpose of the Right to Information Act get strengthened and avoid delays and shifting attending to such queries between different departments . In many cases, the Government had to face serious view and adverse comments from the CIC on this count. The situation was going to aggravate further in this respect when several Public Authorities of the UT continued to denying and even out-rightly rejecting applications filed under the RTI Act of erstwhile state and such cases coming into the notice of the CIC in the form of 2nd appeals and complaints . The extremity and the severity of the matter can be seen in most of the cases being summarily rejected even verbally at the first instance .
In this connection, Union Ministry of Home Affairs has amply made it clear that repeal or amendment of any law did not change the status of the RTI application seeking any information which could be seen in the light of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Laws) orders.Without going into the entire edifice of the RTI Act and its various provision and keep self updating, the Public Information Officers , Public Authorities of the UT as well as getting adequately acquainted with the Adaptation of Laws / orders passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs , the position was not going to improve . The need to properly educate the concerned officers followed by judging their levels of knowledge was imperative. Such education and acquiring the required ”knowhow ” would offset any chances of an information seeker or an applicant under the RTI Act being caused to face difficulties and harassment by denying or considerably delaying the sharing of information. Needless to add, proper and pointed attention towards disposal of the applications under the RTI Act was the motive and the purpose of the RTI Act.