Uttarakhand High Court, on 7th January 2021, in the matter of “Manju Agarwal v. State of Uttarakhand through Secretary, Urban Development, Government of Uttarakhand and others (Writ Petition (M/S) No. 3318 of 2016)”, ruled that the State Information Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘SIC’), did not enjoy the power to direct removal of encroachment, under Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as ‘RTI’).

The judgment was pronounced by Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari, while hearing a Writ Petition filed by Manju Agarwal, challenging the order passed by the SIC directing Nagar Palika Parishad, Kotdwar to take required action alongside local administration for removal of encroachment. The stated order was dated 8th August 2016. During the pronouncement of his judgment, Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari noted that, “giving directions to remove encroachments is beyond the scope of the State Information Commission’s powers under Right to Information Act.” While passing the impugned order, SIC had, “expressed 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”; and had further issued a pursuant order dated 29th November 2016 whereby, “petitioner was called upon to remove his alleged illegal construction within a week failing which same shall be demolished by Nagar Palika Parishad”.

The High Court hence found substance in the contention rose on behalf of the petitioner, and observed that, “Under the Right to Information Act, there is no such power available to State Information Commission.” Therefore in such view of the matter, the filed writ petition was allowed.

Order: UK High Court Order