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The Supreme Court has ruled that a public authority cannot be asked under the RTI Act to provide information, which is not with it.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan, while dismissing the petition of an RTI applicant, noted, ‘This definition of information under section 2(f) of the RTI Act showed that an applicant under section 6 of the act can get any information, which is already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law.

‘Of course, under the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get copy of opinion, advices, circular, orders, etc but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinion, advices, circular, orders, etc have been passed, especially in matters pertaining to judicial decision.’ The apex court further said, ‘A judge speaks through his judgement or orders passed by him. If any party feels aggrieved by the order/judgement passed by a judge, the remedy available to such a party is either to challenge the same by way of appeal or by revision or any other legally permissible mode.

‘No litigant can be allowed to seek information as to why and for what reasons the judge had come to a particular decision or conclusion. A judge is not bound to explain later on for what reason he had come to such a conclusion.’ The petitioner, Khanapuram Gandaiah whose application was dismissed by a judicial officer, has filed a petition under the RTI Act, asking the administrative officer why the judge had decided his appeal dishonestly without considering his written submissions and the same was dismissed.

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