Goa CIC to hear final arguments on appeal against Goa Raj Bhavan

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Goa State Information Commissioner Vishwas Satarkar today fixed for March 24th hearing on final arguments on the two appeals filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues over the failure of Goa Raj Bhavan to furnish information sought by him under the RTI Act.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his appeals submitted that the Raj Bhavan had denied information with erroneous, frivolous, and unwarranted bald headed intentions while the non-furnishing of information was illegal, untenable and with suspect motives.

Adv. Rodrigues also stated that while failing to furnish the information sought, the Raj Bhavan had high-handedly taken shelter under unacceptable reasons in rank contravention of the RTI Act.

On 11th October 2021, Adv. Aires Rodrigues had sought from Goa Raj Bhavan copies of all the official letters written by then Governor Satya Pal Malik to the Prime Minister and Home Minister during his tenure in Goa from 3rd November 2019 to 18th August 2020 but PIO Gaurish Shankhwalkar informed Adv. Rodrigues that letters written by former Governor Malik to Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister were not available despite being searched.

In another application Adv. Rodrigues had sought a copy of all the official letters received by Goa Governor from Prime Minister and Union Home Minister from November 3rd 2019 to August 18th 2020 which also pertained to the period when Satya Pal Malik was Governor of Goa. PIO Gaurish Shankhwalkar in his reply to Adv. Rodrigues stated that the official letters from Prime Minister and Union Home Minister were all received in closed sealed envelopes and were handed over to Governor’s Personal Secretary and that he does not know about the contents of those letters and that they are not part of the records and files of his office and as such the information sought was not available with him.

Meanwhile, State Chief Information Commissioner Vishwas Satarkar will on 13th February deliver his judgement on the appeal filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues against the Secretary of Goa Legislature Secretariat and First Appellate Authority under the RTI Act Namrata Ulman against the order passed by her on 29th August rejecting his appeal against the order of the Public Information Officer (PIO) Mohan Gaonkar declining to furnish information sought by him under RTI Act.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues on June 28th 2022 had sought a copy of the file notings and correspondence pertaining to the two day training workshop for MLAs held on 27th and 28th June at the Taj Vivanta and also complete details of the expenditure incurred on the event.

The PIO Mohan Gaonkar, in his reply informed Adv. Rodrigues that the disclosure of the information would cause breach of Privilege of State Legislature and would also be against Rule 37(16) of the Rules of Conduct of Business of Goa Legislative Assembly.

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