The Right to Information is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression unequivocally guaranteed in Article 19(1)(a) of India’s Constitution. The Courts have also linked a citizen’s Right to Information with his/her Right to Life and liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. The Right to Information Act is also in sync with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.

A citizen’s right to information is therefore unbridled, fundamental and inalienable.

There is however, a huge public health crisis confronting the world, India and our state Punjab today. It is more than an ordinary challenge to guarantee citizens access to information in such times, when many public authorities have ceased to function owing to the extended lockdowns/curfews. Others, like the state police, health authorities, local government and municipal bodies, who are at the forefront of battling the emerging global scourge, are, understandably, in no position to respond to citizens’ queries and concerns as stipulated in the Right to Information Act, 2005.

It is equally evident that, with the lockdown/curfew in place, and the suspension of all public transport services, citizens too no longer have the means to approach Public Authorities or attend appeal hearings at First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) and the State Information Commission.

In view of the fact that most (if not all) Public Information Officers (PIOs) and duly designated FAAs, would either be restricted to their homes or engaged in responding to more urgent and pressing duties, the Punjab State Information Commission (PSIC, hereinafter ‘the Commission’) has decided the following:

Given the extraordinary circumstances, only in matters of utmost urgency pertaining to ‘Life and Liberty’, citizens in Punjab can henceforth submit their applications directly to the Commission via e-mail. All such applications will be put up to a specially constituted Double Bench comprising the Chief Information Commissioner, Sh. Suresh Arora and State Information Commissioner, Sh. Asit Jolly. The Double Bench will thereafter issue an appropriate Decision/Order keeping in view the larger public interest.

Appeal/Complaint cases in the Commission are being heard by the Benches w.e.f 27-05-2020.

Click date for details of Cases heard/scheduled for hearing
Bench 27
Thursday, June 10, 2021Court 110:30 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 28
Tuesday, June 15, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Webex VC)
Wednesday, June 16, 2021In Chamber01:00 PM (Webex VC)
Thursday, June 17, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 29
Wednesday, June 16, 2021Court 311:30 AM (Webex VC)
Thursday, June 17, 2021Court 311:30 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 30
Wednesday, June 16, 2021Court 311:00 AM (VC)
Thursday, June 17, 2021Court 311:00 AM (VC)
Bench 31
Tuesday, June 15, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Postponed)
Wednesday, June 16, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 32
Tuesday, June 15, 2021Court 412:30 PM (Webex VC)
Wednesday, June 16, 2021Court 412:30 PM (Webex VC)
Thursday, June 17, 2021Court 412:30 PM (VC)
Friday, June 18, 2021Court 412:30 PM (Webex VC)
Bench 33
Thursday, June 10, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Postponed)
Friday, June 11, 2021In Chamber11:00 AM (Postponed)
Bench 34
Wednesday, June 9, 2021Court 111:30 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 35
Wednesday, June 9, 2021Court 111:00 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 36
Tuesday, June 15, 2021In Chamber11:30 AM (Webex VC)
Wednesday, June 16, 2021In Chamber11:30 AM (Webex VC)
Bench 37
Wednesday, June 16, 2021In Chamber12:00 PM (Webex VC)