Do we need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI?

Do we need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI?Many a time, the Public Information Officer (PIO) asks the applicant to give reasons for seeking information under RTI. Generally this happens when the PIO doesn’t wish to furnish information due to either personal interest or influence of senior officials who are related to the sought information. Thus, the question arises “do we need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI?”

As per section 6(2) of the RTI Act, 2005, an applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.

Do we need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI?

Section 6(2) clearly says NO. Thus, we do not need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI.

In one of its judgement, Hon’ble Madras High Court said that “RTI applicants must give reasons for seeking information as it gave relief to its Registry from disclosing file notings on a complaint against a chief metropolitan magistrate”. This brings confusion among RTI Applicants that whether High Court decision is valid on this issue?

Under criticism, a division bench of the Madras High Court suo motu took up the matter and corrected the error saying the general observations in the earlier order stating that an RTI application should contain minimum details or reasons for which information is sought for were made without noticing Section 6(2) of the Act that specifically provides that an applicant need not give any reason for any RTI plea. The court also noted that an information-seeking individual was not required to give any reason for seeking the details and their earlier order was contrary to the statutory provision.

Thus, the decision of the Madras High Court that “an applicant need to give reasons for seeking information under RTI” is NOT VALID now.

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