The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday (07th January) observed that the State Information Commission has got no power to direct for the removal of encroachment under the Right To Information Act, 2005.
The Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari, in its order, observed that giving a direction for removal of encroachment is beyond the scope of the State Information Commission's powers under Right to Information Act.
The Bench was hearing the plea of one Manju Agarwal, who challenged the order dated 08th August 2016 passed by State Information Commission directing Nagar Palika Parishad, Kotdwar to take necessary action with the help of local administration to remove the encroachment.
In fact, the Stste Information Commission had expressed its displeasure regarding inaction on the part of Sub Divisional Magistrate, Kotdwar and had directed the Public Information Officer/ Executive Officer, Nagar Palika Parishad, Kotdwar to take necessary action with the help of local administration to remove the encroachment alleged to have been made by the petitioner within 15 days.
Pursuant to the said order, the Executive Officer, Nagar Palika Parishad had passed the order whereby the petitioner (Manju Agarwal) was called upon to remove his alleged illegal construction within a week failing which same shall be demolished by Nagar Palika Parishad.
It was contended before the counsel for the petitioner that giving such direction was beyond the scope of SIC's powers under Right to Information Act.
Finding substance in the argument put forth by the Petitioner, the Court allowed the Writ Petition and the impugned order dated 08th August 2016 passed by State Information Commission and the consequential orders dated 20th August 2016 & 29th November 2016 passed by the Executive Officer, Nagar Palika Parishad Kotdwar were quashed.
In related news, last year the Bombay High Court had ruled that nothing in the Right to Information Act, 2005 empowers the State or Central Information Commission to constitute any committee or conduct any enquiry on its behalf and had stayed the implementation of an order passed by an Information Commissioner directing the Department of Economic Affairs to conduct an enquiry.
Case title - Manju Agarwal v. State of Uttarakhand through Secretary, Urban Development, Government of Uttarakhand and others [Writ Petition (M/S) No. 3318 of 2016]