`Choking information flow': Telangana withdraws controversial CS' RTI order

Telangana government on Tuesday informed the High Court that it has withdrawn the circular issued by the Chief Secretary on October 13.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  15 Dec 2021 6:37 AM GMT
`Choking information flow: Telangana withdraws controversial CS RTI order

Hyderabad: Telangana government on Tuesday informed the High Court that it has withdrawn the circular issued by the Chief Secretary on October 13.

Under the circular, Principal Secretaries and Special Chief Secretaries of all departments were directed to instruct the respective Public Information Officers to furnish the information sought from them by applicants under the RTI Act only after consent from the concerned bureaucrats was obtained.

Earlier on November 1, Telangana high court had passed an interim order staying chief secretary Somesh Kumar's internal note.

Advocate General of Telangana BS Prasad on Tuesday told a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice N Tukaramji that the circular was withdrawn, for which fresh notification had been published on November 12.

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ganji Srinivas Rao, an RTI activist, challenging the internal order issued by the chief secretary.

The order had evoked a sharp response from RTI activists who termed it a threat to the public right to information.

"The authority gets 30 days to disseminate information according to the law. Within this period they (authority) can consult officials within departments and release information. But the consequences of this order do not go well in the spirit of the RTI Act. Every public information officer (PIO) is supposed to be an independent authority however he/she has to follow the policy laid down by the government," said Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu, a former Central Information Commissioner.

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