Information chief's orders on buildings plans challenged

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 27 November 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: An activist has moved the Bombay high court to challenge the orders passed by information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad prohibiting the provision of building plans to RTI applicants.

The petition was mentioned on Tuesday and posted for hearing on December 12.

The petitioner, Vikas Tripathi, challenged two orders, passed on September 26 and Thursday by Gaikwad, in which municipal bodies were told not to part with building plans approved by them.

This month, Gaikwad relaxed things a bit and passed a second order, disallowing details of "only internal building plans". He said layout, FSI and other plans could be given to RTI applicants.

Tripathi's petition, filed through advocate Aditya Pratap, said that the commissioner "lacked legal powers to pass such orders".

He termed the order "regressive" since it banned information that was available to the public even before the law was enacted in 2005.

"The Development Control Regulations require all plans to be kept public," the petition said.

Gaikwad's order had come under attack from other activists as well, including former national information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who said the commission had created a class of exemption not authorized by the law.

The petition said the information commissioner's orders "undermine transparency provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification,1991, and militate against the spirit of Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006".

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