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Whispersinthecorridors

DATE WITH RTI

Language in which the information is to be provided

The appellant sought a copy of the instructions issued to reply against RTI applications in Hindi or English or both from the PIO of the Department of Official Language, New Delhi. A second appeal was filed before the CIC on the ground that the response was not provided in English language. The PIO submitted that the then PIO had inadvertently replied to the appellant that information was sent in Hindi language as per extant guidelines. It was clarified that the lapse occurred because the reply sent by the erstwhile PIO was based on Rule 3 (1) of the Official Languages (Use for Official Purposes of the Union) Rules, 1976 (As amended in 1987) rather than Rule 3 (2) (b) which is the relevant rule which states that Communication from a Central Government Office to any person in a State or Union Territory of Region B may be either in Hindi or in English. The PIO also submitted that the State of Maharashtra was included in the Region B as per Rule 2 (g) of the aforementioned Rules. During the hearing before CIC, the PIO prayed to condone their lapse on the ground that being the representatives of the Department of Official Language, they were encouraged and expected to promote use of Hindi language in official correspondences. The PIO also conveyed that the bilingual (Hindi-English) version of the document is also now sent by the department to the appellant. The CIC observed that the response provided by the PIO was not appropriate. However, in the absence of any malafide intention, the CIC ruled that it would not be appropriate to initiate any action for imposition of penalty on the PIO. The CIC counseled the present and erstwhile PIO to be more careful in future so that such lapses do not recur.

Comments

The RTI Act provided for disclosing the information in the form in which it is existing and available. A PIO is not required to create the information or translate it for the information seeker.

Citation: Prafulla D Khedekar v. CPIO, Department of Official Language in Second Appeal No. CIC/DPOOL/A/2018/113700, Date of decision 30.07.2019

Dr. Anuradha Verma (dranuradhaverma@yahoo.co.in) is an expert on RTI matters and has co-authored the books RIGHT TO INFORMATION - LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at the link: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/

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