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Vijay Singh Yadav vs. Life Insurance Corporation Of India - (Central Information Commission) (06 Nov 2020)

Opinions or advices can only be provided to the Applicants, if it is available on record of the public authority


Right to Information

The complainant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) Life Insurance Corporation of India seeking information relating to details of show-cause notice issued to the Complainant and under which rule termination order was issued to the Complainant.

Being aggrieved with the response given by the Respondent, the complainant filed a complaint under Section 18 of the RTI Act before the Commission requesting to take appropriate legal action against the CPIO under Section 20 of the RTI Act. The Respondent reiterated the reply given by the CPIO and First Appellate Authority (FAA) and submitted that point-wise reply/information as per the documents available on record has been provided to the complainant within stipulated period of time as per the provisions of the RTI Act.

The Commission observes that, some queries of the Complainant are in the nature of seeking explanation/opinion/advice from the CPIO and he has expected that, the CPIO firstly should analyze the documents and then, provide information to the Complainant. But the CPIO is not supposed to create information; or to interpret information; or to furnish clarification to the Appellant under the ambit of the RTI Act. As per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the reasons/opinions/advices can only be provided to the applicants, if it is available on record of the public authority. The CPIO cannot create information in the manner as sought by the Appellant. The CPIO is only a communicator of information based on the records held in the office and hence, he cannot expected to do research work to deduce anything from the material therein and then supply it to him.

Hon'ble Supreme Court in CBSE and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors. has held that, a Public Authority is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inferences and/or making assumptions. It is also not required to provide 'advice' or 'opinion' to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any 'opinion' or 'advice' to an applicant. The reference to 'opinion' or 'advice' in the definition of 'information' in section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act."

The Respondent has informed the factual position of the matter to the Complainant within stipulated period of time as per the provisions of the RTI Act. No further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter. The complaint is disposed of.


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