Access to Public Information
Dotcom Trading 121 (PTY) Ltd v. King
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The Moscow Oblast Court found that the applicant Naumocheva’s rights had not been violated and therefore rejected the request for additional information about a state sponsored construction project. Naumocheva, an environmental activist, requested information pertaining to the construction of highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg that could negatively impact the surrounding forest. The town’s administration provided some information but not the documents requested. The Court held that citizens have a right to information about state activities and found that the town had not only adhered to the laws but had already published the information requested by Naumocheva on the town’s official website.
This case analysis was contributed by Right2Info.org.
Serafima Naumocheva, an environmental activist, applied for access to the Decree of 22 June 2007 No. 992, which was approved by the Head of the Khimki town administration. The Decree concerned the construction of the M-10 Russia highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Naumocheva was concerned about the environmental impact on the surrounding forest and asked the Khimki town administration to provide information about the exact route and dimensions of the highway. The administration provided some information but not the documents requested.
The Court of first instance (Khimki Town Court of the Moscow Oblast) explained that according to article 28 of the Supreme Court Plenary Decree No 2 “On the adjudication of cases about inaction of government or semi-government bodies, or government and municipal officials” issued on February 10, 2009, a court may satisfy a plaintiff’s claim if it is established that the plaintiff’s rights and freedoms were violated, which was not the case here.
First, the Court reiterated that the Khimki town administration followed the Federal Law No. 8-FZ “On access to information about the activities of government or semi-governing bodies” issued on February 9, 2009, as well as the Federal Law No. 149-FZ “On information, information technology, and protection of information” issued on July 27, 2006 when it shared authentic information within its authority with Naumocheva.
The Court also pointed-out the fact that Naumocheva submitted an explanation to Khimki administration to justify the need for the requested information.
Lastly, the Court also highlighted that the Khimki administration, in accordance with the Federal Law No. 8-FZ “On access to information about the activities of government or semi-governing bodies”, published the information requested by Naumocheva on the town’s official website.
On the basis of the above, the Court rejected Naumocheva’s claim.
Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.
This is one of the first cases in which the court implemented sections of the 2010 Russian RTI law to satisfy information requests related to the environmental impact of state financed construction projects. Russian courts tend not to apply the RTI law and reject information demands of the public without any basis when they concern construction of highways, logging and other environmental impact studies. After this case some courts began to satisfy citizens’ claims for environmental information.
Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.
Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.
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