The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that citizens cannot question government policies and plans by utilising the Right to Information Act. The Commission noted this while dismissing an application filed by a Mumbai resident Amin Merchant who had sought information from Finance Ministry as to why certain tariff policy was framed by the Centre.
“..it is not open to citizens to question the government about why a certain matter was handled in a certain way and not differently. The public authority owes him no explanation, ” the Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said.
Merchant, in his application to the Ministry had questioned its policy for not issuing exemption notification against certain goods.
“While RTI Act entitles each citizen to seek and receive information from public authorities, it does not allow them any liberty to seek explanations and reasons from it,” the Commission said adding that such “freewheeling questioning” should not be encouraged.
Holding that the RTI Act is not a proper instrument for seeking such explanation from the government, the Commission said, “No explanation is owed to the appellant (Merchant) by the Centre, which pilots the budget before the Parliament and is answerable only to the Parliament and to no one else.”
“If he is not happy with some of the proposals such persons may even petition the appropriate department of the government or the Parliament or agitate the matter before a Court of law,” the Commission said