Orissa High Court seeks State govt. clarification on RTI cell


The Orissa High Court has asked the State government what steps are being taken to ensure that Right To Information (RTI) cell remained open.

Pradip Pradhan, an RTI activist, had moved the court alleging that the cell had remained closed and public information officers were not receiving RTI applications despite directions from the State Information Commission (SIC).

Expressing concern at the refusal to accept RTI applications, the SIC had told the State government that refusing information under the RTI was an offence that entailed penalty and it was imperative that applications, irrespective of whether they were sent by post or submitted in person, were received without fail.

The SIC had reminded the government that under clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) of Section (4) of RTI Act, 2005, every political authority was obligated to make suo motu disclosure of information.

“During COVID lockdown, the government closed down the RTI Cell at the State Secretariat and entry of people was restricted. Though lockdown was lifted, the cell did not reopen. It is also observed that the PIOs of many offices across the State are refusing to receive RTI applications citing the COVID pandemic,” alleged Mr. Pradhan.

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