Records cannot be destroyed even under weeding-out policy if a citizen has sought information related to them through the RTI route as doing it would be a violation of the transparency law, the Central Information Commission has held.
The transparency panel passed this stricture while hearing the plea of Ashok Dixit who sought some information from Delhi Technological University here but was denied on the pretext that records carrying the information have been weeded out.
Taking a stern view of the varsity’s explanation, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu issued a show cause notice to the university asking why a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 not be slapped on it for not providing information.
“The Commission does not accept the claim of the respondents that the record is weeded out without showing how and when they followed weeding out policy, especially when an RTI application is pending in respect of the record,” Acharyulu said.
He said the public authority has to explain the Commission whether they are following the provisions of the Public Records Act 1993 in destroying old records, made any rules for their office, who is in-charge of implementation of those rules, when the particular information sought by the appellant was destroyed and what is the file noting about that file before it was weeded out.
“Record cannot be destroyed after RTI application is filed, even if it outlived the time prescribed under weeding out policy and if destroyed like that, it would invite the penalty under Section 20 of the RTI Act,” he said.