Provide information, don’t look for exemptions: State RTI chief to PIOs

Shillong, Mar 1: State Chief Information Commissioner H Nongpluh on Friday said the  Public Information Officers ( PIOs) should change their mindset by providing information to the applicants wherever possible as per the RTI Act 2005 rather than finding exemptions.

He was addressing the conference on the RTI Act organised by Standing Conference of Public Sector Enterprises (SCOPE), an apex body of Public Sector Enterprises at Hotel Vivanta, here.


Nongpluh said, “The mindset of the Public Information Officers, whenever they see the RTI applications, is to find where are RTI exemptions and that I will not give the information but whenever I used to call them, I tell them that your mindset should be what I can I do , not what I can’t give”.

He also has an advice to the appellate authorities, who according to him, should distance themselves from the PIOs.

According to Nongpluh, though there is no harm in consulting others, the same opinion by the PIO and the appellate authority will dilute the Act.

He also warned the RTI applicants not to use the tool to harass or target the opponents..

RTI state chief helpless on exemptions 

Later, speaking to reporters, Nongpluh said he cannot intervene in the order of Meghalaya government which gave exemptions even to anti-corruption. branch among other agencies of the intelligence and security organisations of the Meghalaya police.

The exemption is as per the sub-section (4) of section 24 of the RTI Act 2005.

Nongpluh said the government has the authority to go for exemptions but the commission has no say in it as the power of exemption is with the state government.

According to the notification issued on December 14, 2023 and published in the official gazette on January 11, 2024 the ‘security organisations’ excluded from the purview of the RTI are Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Economic Offences Wing (EOW), and Anti Corruption Branch of Meghalaya Police, State Special Force-10 (Commando Battalion), Indian Reserve Battalions of Meghalaya, Meghalaya Police Battalions, Crime Branch Police Station, Eastern Range, Crime Branch Police Station, Western Range, Meghalaya Police Radio Organisation, Anti-infiltration Directorate/ Border, Offices of the Law and Order/DIG Ranges, Confidential Branch of Meghalaya Police Headquarters and Special Branch (SB), Meghalaya.

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