The Delhi High Court yesterday stayed an order passed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) stating that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) fall within the definition of ‘information’ under Section 2(f) the Right to Information Act.
The Court demanded an explanation from the CIC and the RTI applicant who had sought access to EVMs maintained by the poll panel under a plea filed by the Election Commission (EC).
However, the application was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer. EVMs were not information in terms of Section 6(1) of the RTI Act said the Appellate Authority.
The RTI applicant miffed by the orders appealed before the CIC under Section 19(3) of the RTI Act, which stated that EVMs come under the scope of the term “information” and therefore subject to the RTI Act.
The Election Commission has criticized that the EVMs are under the ambit of the definition of the word information under the RTI Act. It has contended that the conclusion is erroneous since the list of items included in the definition as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act ought to be read ejusdem generis.
Further, EC submitted that CIC was unable to consider that EVMs were maintained by it in terms of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act as they are used solely for the purpose of elections or for training and awareness.
It further argued that CIC failed to consider that expertise is important and that could be given by the expert body. In addition, the petition further stated that EVMs being an integral part of elections is the expertise of the EC.
The CIC order is also challenged on the ground that there was no strong reason to support the order.