The Media has reported that in a landmark judgement which shall have a serious impact on transparency regime, a two-judge Bench of Madras High Court held that an applicant must disclose the object for which information is sought and also satisfy that such object has a legal backing, The applicant in this case had applied to the Registry of the Madras High Court for disclosing, inter alia, file notings on a complaint against a chief metropolitan magistrate. ‘The High Court held the RTI Act does not provide an unfettered right to information, and that.
‘A person who seeks information under the RTI Act, must show that the information sought for is either for his personal interest or for a public interest. Under both circumstances, the information seeker must disclose at least with bare minimum details as to what is the personal interest or the public interest, for which such information is sought for. If such details are either absent or not disclosed, such query can not be construed as the one satisfying the requirement of the RTI Act.'”
The Hon’ble Court further held that “If informations are to be furnished to a person , who does not have any reason or object behind seeking such informations, in our considered view, the intention of the Legislature is not to the effect that such informations are to be given like pamphlets to any person unmindful of the object behind seeking such information.”
2.It is interesting to note that Section 6(2) of the Right to Information Act 2005 provides that “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.” The term “information” as defined in Section of the RTI Act, 2005 includes “opinion” and “advices” given in the course of transaction of Government business as on record. This would mean that file notings are not exempt from disclosure unless covered by Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 2005
The details of the judgement given are awaited.