SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Tuesday stayed the order passed by State Information Commission for the non-appearance of the PIO (public information officer).
The petitioner Ajay Kumar approached the court when the order dated 16-08-2017 was passed against him by the Chief Information Commissioner, JKSIC, Srinagar in the 2nd Appeal bearing No. SIC/CO/SA/468/2017 titled Sh. Ajay Kumar v. FAA/PIO, J&K High Court, Srinagar.
The commission had adjourned the case for non-appearance of the PIO of J&K High Court in the hearing of the 2nd appeal.
“The case is adjourned with directions to registry to convey the observations of the State Information Commission (SIC) to the PIO J&K High Court for his non-appearance before the Commission and impress upon him to ensure his attendance in the hearings of the Commission as and when the cases/2nd appeals pertaining to the J&K High Court are listed for hearing,” reads the order.
NA Beigh, counsel for petitioner stated before the High Court that the order is against the cannons of law. He said, “The Information Commissioner has to weigh the pros and cons of each appeal on its own merits and form a rational and objective opinion before passing any order. The State Information Commission is not vested with unbridled powers to pass sweeping orders. It is bound by law. It cannot travel beyond its jurisdiction and doing so does not auger well.”
He stated that in consonance with section 15 (3) of Right to Information Act, State Information Commissioner has the power to summon and enforce the attendance of persons only for the purpose of giving oral or written evidence on oath and for producing documents, requiring the discovery and inspection of documents, receiving evidence on affidavit; requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any Court or office, issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents and any other matter which may be prescribed.
He said, “In the instant case nothing of this nature was required to be done by the Public Information Officer or First Appellant Authority of the High Court.”