BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has asked the legislature to frame the qualification criteria for appointment of Public Information Officer (PIO) by public authorities, as they discharge quasi-judicial functions. It noted that no qualification is prescribed in the RTI Act or the Freedom of Information Act. The court also ruled that the Information Commission — state or Central — has no power to remove, or dismiss, a PIO already appointed by a public authority.
These directions were issued by Justice Suraj Govindaraj on August 26 while partly allowing the writ petition filed by the KPSC against the order passed by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) on June 18, on an application filed by one Vinay Kumar Ramaiah, a candidate who appeared for KPSC’s gazetted probationers’ examination.
The judge also held that a candidate, who appeared for examination conducted by a public service commission, can seek copies of his evaluated answer scripts along with the marks allotted to each question but not of another another person.
In this case, Vinay sought his evaluated answer script, and embargo in the decision of the SC in the Angesh Kumar case, will not be applicable, the judge said. Vinay applied for copies of evaluated answer scripts of main examinations conducted by KPSC. The PIO of KPSC, rejected this. He filed an appeal against this before the first appellate authority which dismissed it.
When the matter was pending before the authority, he had approached the KIC against KPSC. Despite being informed that the application was rejected, the KIC passed the order on June 18, appointing the Controller of Examinations, KPSC, as PIO and secretary of KPSC as first appellate authority and removed the PIO already appointed. The KPSC moved the court over this.