Case Law Details

Case Name : Veena Joshi Vs CPIO (Delhi High Court)
Appeal Number : W.P.(C) 3883/2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 12/07/2022
Related Assessment Year :

Veena Joshi Vs CPIO (Delhi High Court)

The Delhi High Court has held that the words “inspection of work” under Section 2(j) of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005 does not include “inspection of property” under its ambit.

Section 2(j) stipulates that right to information means the right to information accessible under the Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to– (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; etc.

A single judge bench of Justice Yashwant Varma held that as such, the word “work” under the aforementioned Section is to be read in conjunction with the expressions “documents” and “records” and not property.

Briefly, the facts of the case are that the petitioner was aggrieved by the non-completion of certain civil works in a government quarter which had been allotted to him. Thus, he preferred a writ petition purporting to invoke the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 to inspect the property (which happened to be government accommodation). The contention of the petitioner was that inspection of premises and properties fell within the ambit of Section 2(j) of the Act.

The court held that the above submission of the petitioner was thoroughly misconceived. It observed,

The Act essentially confers a right on citizens to seek information. It enables them to secure information that may be within the control and possession of public authorities. When Section 2(j) uses the word “work”, it is referring to the inspection of documents and records and it is in that light that the said phrase is liable to be understood. The word “work” is to be read in conjunction with the expressions “documents” and “records”. It thus must necessarily draw color therefrom. As this Court construes the provisions of the Act, it is manifest that the application that was made was thoroughly misconceived.

The writ petition was accordingly dismissed with costs quantified at Rs.5,000/- to be deposited at Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee [DHCLSC].

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF DELHI HIGH COURT

1. This writ petition is directed against an order of 28 September 2021 in terms of which an application made by the petitioner purporting to invoke the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 has come to be rejected.

2. From a perusal of the application as tendered, it transpires that the petitioner was essentially aggrieved by non-completion of certain civil works in a government quarter which had been allotted to him. It was in that connection that the provisions of the Act were sought to be invoked.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner would contend that the inspection of premises and properties would fall within the ambit of the Act in light of the provisions made in Section 2(j). According to learned counsel, the use of the word “work” in Section 2(j) would indicate that the provisions of the Act could extend to the prayers as made and laid before the respondents.

4. In the considered opinion of this Court, the aforesaid submission is thoroughly misconceived for the following reasons.

5. The Act essentially confers a right on citizens to seek information. It enables them to secure information that may be within the control and possession of public authorities. When Section 2(j) uses the word “work”, it is referring to the inspection of documents and records and it is in that light that the said phrase is liable to be understood. The word “work” is to be read in conjunction with the expressions “documents” and “records”. It thus must necessarily draw color therefrom.

6. As this Court construes the provisions of the Act, it is manifest that the application that was made was thoroughly misconceived.

7. The writ petition consequently must also suffer a similar fate. It shall accordingly stand dismissed with costs quantified at Rs.5,000/- to be deposited at Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee [DHCLSC].

Download Judgment/Order

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