Telangana Wakf Board stalling information under RTI

Hyderabad: Under the Right to Information Act, it has become easy for a common man to obtain information regarding any government organization. However, the Telangana State Wakf Board seems to be an exception to the rule as the board is assiduously denying information to the people about its resolutions.

It’s not only the RTI Act but article 30 of the Wakf Board 1995 itself gives every citizen of the country right to seek information from the Board.

Using these two acts, many political leaders, social activists, journalists, and religious leaders have brought to fore many serious scandals and disclosed scams of crores of rupees in the board.

However, of late, the state Wakf Board has started denying information under these two Acts. There is a common perception gaining ground that it’s impossible to obtain information from the Wakf Board.

A journalist had filed a petition under RTI Act recently seeking information about the copies of the agenda, resolutions, and proceedings of the board meetings held on 9 December 2020 and 22 June 2021. After a month, he received a reply from the Wakf Board.

The reply from the Telangana State Wakf Board dated 3 August 2021 said, “It is to inform that with regard to the effect of resolutions copies pertains to board section there is no fiduciary relationship with the information sought for and there is no larger public interest which warrants the disclosure of such information, it is exempted under section 8 (e) RTI act 2005.”

The board has clearly declined to provide copies of the resolutions to the journalist.

The exemptions cited under section 8 (e) RTI act 2005 by the Wakf Board are related to the Country’s National Security or any personal information of any government official which clearly is not the case here.

The information officer has cited the reason that the information sought is not in the public interest and hence it cannot be furnished.

The question arises: How can the disclosure of resolutions adopted in Wakf Board meetings is not in the public interest.

It’s a fact that the exemptions stated in section 8 (e) RTI act 2005 do not apply to Work Board resolutions and hence the board has no right to deny such information to the public.

There are dozens of applications pending with the Telangana State Wakf Board seeking information under Article 30 of the Board.