Central Information Commission Current Affairs - 2019
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The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that the EVM machine is information under the Right to Information Act and directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond to appellant who had sought an EVM.
What was the case?
The applicant Rajaak Khan Haider had sought an EVM from the Election Commission. The Election Commission had rejected the application saying the EVMs held by it do not come under the definition of “information”.
The applicant had approached Central Information Commission with the argument that as per Section 2(f) and 2(i) of the RTI Act, the definition of ‘information’ and ‘record’ also includes ‘any model or any sample’ held by a public authority, calling the rejection as wrong.
The Information Commission even though upheld these arguments noted the contention of Election Commission of India that the software installed on these machines is an intellectual property of a third party, the disclosure of which would harm its competitive position.
Section 8(1)(d) exempts information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
The CIC did not give any view whether it was upholding or rejecting the EC’s position on commercial confidence leaving a grey area
Highlights of the Ruling
EVM can be demanded by an applicant from the Election Commission of India on payment of Rs 10. The Election Commission has to respond to an RTI application seeking the EVM either by providing it or refusing it under exemption clauses in the Act. The verdict of the Election Commission of India can be contested before the CIC, the highest adjudicating authority in RTI matters.
The 13th Convention of Central Information Commission was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind. It was attended by Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commissioners, State Information Commissioners, former information Commissioners, Central Public information officer, NGOs and other stake holders.
Central Information Commission (CIC)
CIC was established in 2005 by Central Government under provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act (2005). It is plays important role in maintaining transparency in system of governance essential for healthy democracy. Such kind of transparency check aims to curb corruption, nepotism, oppression and misuse or abuse of the authority.
CIS is designated statutory authority to receive and inquire into complaint from any person. The general superintendence, direction and management of affairs of Commission are vested in Chief Information Commissioner who is assisted by Information Commissioners. CIC submits annual report to Union government on the implementation of the provisions of RTI Act. The central government inturn places this report before each house of Parliament.
Functions and Powers of CIC
- It can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds.
- It can secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority.
- It can recommend steps to be taken for promoting such conformity, if public authority does not conform to provisions of RTI Act.
- It receives and inquire into a complaint from
- It examines any record which is under control of the public authority and which may be withheld from it on any grounds during the enquiry. While inquiring, it has powers of civil court