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A writ petition filed under Article 226 praying for issuance of Writ of Mandamus dismissed on considering no merit – Madras high court

A writ petition filed under Article 226 praying for issuance of Writ of Mandamus dismissed on considering no merit – Madras high court

The writ petition is filed under article 226 of the constituion of India for the issuance of a writ of mandamus against respondents and requesting the respondents to permit the petitioners to permit the records under Section 4(1)(a), 4(1)(b), 4(1)(c) and 4(1)(d) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The writ petition was heard and dismissed accordingly by a single judge bench of THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M. GOVINDA RAJ in the case of Mahadev Viswanathan versus Joint Secretary Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and 5 others (WP NO.19337 OF 2017)

It is important to understand Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 before the issuance of the writ section 4 of the act states the obligations of public authorities. The provisions specify the obligations of public authorities in maintaining the records and disseminating the information about its functioning. The sub-clause (a) of Section 4(1) of the Act states that every public authority shall maintain all its records in the manner which facilitates providing of the information and the other sub-clauses also provides makes it obligatory for the authorities to store and share information when necessary.

The objective of the act is that every citizen shall have the right to information as well as easy access to the information from the organization and there shall not be any lame excuse on the part of the officials that the files are missing or that it is difficult to get that information. But in the present writ petition, the petitioner demands to seek information as a matter of right to gather the information. The court finds that the object of the act is to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority and the transparency does not mean that all the information shall be thrown open to the public without there being any confidentiality or privilege and the obligations of public authorities shall not be read in conflict of the public interest. Section 4 of the Act does not permit anyone to have a search into the records in the guise of inspection of offices of any public authority.

The court further interprets the real intention behind the application of the act and decides that Writ under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can be exercised for the violation of fundamental rights and the statutory rights and enforcement of such lawful rights in a lawful manner, it cannot be exercised for the regulation improper acts of citizens taking shelter under the statutory rights and decides that the information sought by the petitioner in the present case is accessible to the petitioners if proper procedures are followed and if the application is filed under proper provisions of the Act. The petitioner cannot be granted access to conduct the search of all records and ransack the public authorities. Hence the petitioner approaches the respondents in the manner known to the law, the respondents are directed to provide information, in accordance with law and the writ petition is accordingly dismissed.

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Order reviewed by Naveen Sharma

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