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CIC DECISION ON MY APPEALS
Decision Against Election Commission of India
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Sub: Decision of Central Information Commission dated 24th April 2006 on my Appeal against the Election Commission of India
 
On 20th March 1996 I filed a Petition before Election Commission of India suggesting thereby an draft concept for “Affidavit to be filed by each candidate of Parliament or State Legislatures along with their nomination papers, giving detail records of their Criminal Cases and other details, and I further pleaded in my petition that under Article 324 and 326 of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission is fully empowered to issue Notification to that effect. 
 
On 28th August 1997 the Election Commission issued Letter No. 509/Disqln./97.J.S.I addressed to all the Chief Electoral Officers of all the States and Union Territories under the subject “Criminalisation of Politics- participation of criminals in the electoral process as candidates–disqualification-on-conviction for offences…” enclosing thereby order dated 28th August 1997 of the Commission under Article 324 of the Constitution directing thereby every intending future candidates for Parliament and State Legislatures to submit Affidavit with detail records of criminal proceedings pending against them. This means my Petition was followed by issuing aforesaid order.
 
After enactment of the Right to Information Act-2005, I was sure to establish that the aforesaid Notification/Order was issued by the EC, obtaining the complete concept from my aforesaid Petition dated 20th March 1996.
 
In response to my Applications under RTI, they not allowed me access to the related entire file and noting. On 24th April 2006 Central Information Commission passed its decision, allowing me to access to entire file and noting, which would help me to establish my aforesaid contentions. Kindly visit the Website of CIC (http://cic.gov.in) for its related decision No. 67 dated 24th April 2006 on my Appeal. However copy of the decision is also referred below.
 
 
Milap Choraria
National Convenor,
Movement for Accountability to Public
 
DECISION OF THE CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
 
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Appeal No CIC/WB/C/2006/00036
Dated: 19/4/’06
Right to Information Act – Sections 18(1), 19
Name of Appellant: Shri Milap Choraria
Name of Public Authority: Election Commission of India
 
Facts:
Shri Milap Choraria appellant, of Rohini, Delhi applied to the CPIO SR Kar, Election Commission of India on 27th October seeking to inspect documents concerning information with reference to his petition of March 20, 1996 to the three Election Commissioners, together with a specific letter /notification of January 6, 2005 together with a specific letter /notification of January 6, 2005 (without prejudice I Humbly submit that date referred in the decision is by mistake against actual date 28.8.1997 and  6th January 1998 being date of Letter/Notification No. 509/Disqln./97/J.S.-I/Vol.II/851-82, issued by Election Commission of India) and previous related documents. After asking for a copy of the letter of 1996), the Commission replied on December 5, 2005 that no action was taken and further asked the applicant to obtain copies of letters asked for on payment. Since the applicant had asked for no copies but simply access, he went in appeal to the appellate authority. In response the appellate authority informed the appellant that he would be given Photostat copies of documents asked for on payment of standard fees but that file notings were exempt from disclosure u/s 8
(1) of the Right to Information Act. The appellant therefore appealed to this Commission on 13/2/’06 followed by a complaint u/s 18 (1) of the Act on March 13, 2006 asking for:
a) Summoning the respondents with the full file before the Commission
b) Directions to respondent to allow applicant access to the file
c) Imposition of penalty on respondents for delay in providing the information
d) Allow the appeal with cost
 
The appeal and the complaint being of similar nature, they have been
clubbed together for the hearing. Appellant Milap Choraria is present together with Appellate Authority KF Wilfred, Secretary Election Commission of India and CPIO SR Kar, Under Secretary, ECI. The file has been examined. We find that the application was simple: a request to inspect the file with reference to the original petition of 1996, which is covered by the definition of the right to information u/s 2 (j) (i) of the Act. However the response of the PIO was
circuitous, first asking for a copy of the original petition and then proceeding u/s 7(3) of the Act. The applicant therefore appealed to the appellate authority asking again only for ‘access’ to the requisite documents. However, the response of the Appellate authority was also to prepare estimates of costs and state that file notings were exempt from disclosure u/s 8 (1) of the Act. Appellate Authority
Wilfrid was asked during the hearing whether the notings were confidential. He replied in the negative. He also stated that ECI would not at any stage have been against allowing inspection of the file without notings. Thus, through a misreading of both the application and the law a simple procedure has been rendered unduly lengthy.
 
DECISION
 
As agreed by the representatives of Election Commission the appellant will now be allowed to inspect the requisite file together with related papers in the offices of the Election Commission, immediately on receipt of this decision. In case he requires copies of any specific documents these will be provided to him free of charge as time limits specified in Sec 7 (1) have not been adhered to.
In light of an amicable understanding having been arrived at between the parties, and the action evidently taken by the PIO in good faith, no penalties are imposed and no charges levied. But the officials of the Election Commission are advised to be more cautious in administering the law on the right to information than the handling of this application would show. This disposes of both the appeal and the complaint.
Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties.
(AN Tiwari)
Information Commissioner
(Wajahat Habibullah)
Chief Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the charges prescribed under the Act to the CPIO of this Commission:
(PK Shreyaskar)
24/4/’06
 

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