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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Voluminous Information
Supreme Court(Voluminous Information)/ High Courts(Voluminous Information)
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CIC/MPERS/A/2018/141407
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06 Jan, 2020 Nutan Thakur Vs. CPIO, DoPT, North Block, New Delhi – 110001

Information Sought
The Appellant sought list of IAS officers in the country against whom various criminal cases have been registered during the last 10 years i.e., since 01.01.2008 till the date of RTI Application alongwith copies of FIRs of these criminal cases which are available with the DoPT through 3 points.

Decision
CPIO submitted that they do get information in connection with criminal cases pertaining to IAS officers working in State cadres as well as Central deputation and same is not filed at a central place. He further submitted that collection and collation of information sought will disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority, attracting Section 7(9) of the RTI Act. He furthermore submitted that no prior sanction in criminal cases is taken for filing charge sheet etc against IAS officer.

CPIO further clarified that when an IAS officer is convicted by Court on criminal charges, reference for imposition of major penalty under Rule 14 of AIS (D&A) Rules, 1969 is received by DoPT.

Commission has gone though the case records and on the basis of proceedings during hearing observes that no further action is warranted in the matter.
2 CIC/DOP&T/A/2018/142912
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06 Jan, 2020 Nutan Thakur Vs. CPIO, DoPT, North Block, New Delhi – 110001.

Information Sought
The Appellant sought documents belonging to DoPT related with filing of SLP challenging 12 year old Hon’ble Delhi High Court verdict closing the Bofors case, including note sheet and the correspondence between DoPT and various other offices.

Decision
hearing observes that information sought pertains to CBI investigation and since, CBI has been placed at Sl. No.23 of the Second Schedule to the RTI Act 2005 vide Notification No. F.No.1/3/2011-IR dated 09.06.2011 of Govt. of India and as such RTI Act is not applicable to the organization except where allegations of corruption and/or human rights violation have been made. In the instant case, Appellant has not made any specific allegation of corruption; mere assertion that matter involves corruption does not attract the proviso to Section 24 of RTI Act.

In view of the foregoing, Commission does not find any scope of intervention in the matter.
3 CIC/DHEDU/A/2018/145972/02526
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03 Jan, 2020 Ashok Kumar Vs. ACPIO & Assistant Section Officer, D/o Higher Education Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110 001

Information Sought
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. List of total families in the Scheduled Caste (SCs) which have not benefitted with the policy of reservation in the Central/ State Government jobs and Public Sector jobs.
2. List of total families in the Scheduled Tribe (STs) which have not benefitted with the policy of reservation in the Central/ State Government jobs.
3. List of total families in Other Backward Classes (OBCs) which are not benefitted with the policy of reservation in the Central/ State Government jobs and Public Sector jobs.
4. And other related information.

Decision
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that the information sought by the appellant relates to all the IITs and Sec 6(3) transfer by the CPIO, MHRD to all the IITs was not practicably possible. Moreover, it is pertinent to mention here that the sought for information is voluminous and direction for disclosure would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authorities. It is relevant to mention below the Apex Court observations relating to impractical demands of the appellants in the case of CBSE vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors on 9 August, 2011, Civil Appeal No.6454 of 2011[Arising out of SLP [C] No.7526/2009.

“37. ..........Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising `information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”

During the hearing, the appellant was asked to assist in reducing the demand for information by specifying any particular region or IIT regarding which he wants the information, so as to seek limited relief which can be provided but the appellant stated that he wants the information as has been sought by him in his original RTI application.

In view of the above, the appellant is advised to limit the information sought and to submit his revised request for limited information to the CPIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of this order. Thereafter, the CPIO is directed to provide an additional reply to the appellant within 20 days from the date of the receipt of the revised request from the appellant. The appellant is also at liberty to file fresh RTI applications to the concerned IITs with specific queries.

4 CIC/DHEDU/A/2018/144609/02200
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20 Nov, 2019 Rajesh Kumar Vs. CPIO/ Under Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

Information sought
The appellant has sought the following information about tours of cricket team and indoor game teams outside Delhi, Sports and Recreation Club under Min. Of HRD:
1. Copy of the rules for selection of captain of Cricket team.
2. Copy of the rules made for appointing manager, asst. manager, coach and asst. coach etc. of cricket team.
3. Details of the appointment and removal of captain, vice-captain, manager, asst. manager, coach and asst. coach etc. of the cricket team from the date of starting till 2018.
4. And other related information.

Decision
Based on a perusal of the record it is noted that the CPIO stated that all available information has already been given and the rest can’t be collated being voluminous and collation of the same would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority.

In view of the submissions of the CPIO, the Commission finds no scope for any intervention in the matter. The Commission accordingly upholds the submissions of the CPIO. No further action lies.

5 CIC/IOCLD/A/2018/122765-BJ
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04 Nov, 2019 Ms. Sharmila Chaubey Vs. CPIO, General Manager (LPG - S&D), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Northern Region, Indian Oil Bhawan, 1, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Yusuf Sarai, New Delhi - 110016

Information Sought
The Appellant vide her RTI application sought information on 10 points regarding the location wise information of the shortage of staff in various Distribution Locations, Terminals, Building, Plants, AFS, Area Offices, State Offices, Divisional Offices, Lube, Depots etc in various offices of the Distribution Department, Northern Region; amount of money disbursed under the head overtime by the Distribution Department in the year 2016-17 due to shortage of manpower and issues related thereto.

Decision
The Commission also referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors, SLP(C) NO. 7526/2009 wherein it was held as under:
"Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of public authorities prioritising 'information furnishing' at the cost of their normal and regular duties."

Furthermore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of ICAI vs. Shaunak H. Satya (2011) 8 SCC 781 dated 02.09.2011 had held as under:
“26. We however agree that it is necessary to make a distinction in regard to information intended to bring transparency, to improve accountability and to reduce corruption, falling under Section 4(1)(b) and (c) and other information which may not have a bearing on accountability or reducing corruption. The competent authorities under the RTI Act will have to maintain a proper balance so that while achieving transparency, the demand for information does not reach unmanageable proportions affecting other public interests, which include efficient operation of public authorities and government, preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information and optimum use of limited fiscal resources”
6 CIC/NHAIN/A/2019/129053
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02 Nov, 2019 Deepanshu Kamboj Vs. CPIO, National Highways Authority of India,

Information Sought
The Appellant sought tracking details of 2 vehicles with nos. HR 55 W 6168 and RJ 06 GA which were headed to Delhi from Mumbai on 28.09.2017, morning and timings of reaching these vehicles to Delhi.

Decision
Commission has gone through the case records and observes that Section 2(f) of the RTI Act provides for the CPIO to provide such information which means “any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; “

Further, Section 2(j) of the RTI Act enumerates that “right to information” means “the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the
control of any public authority and includes the right to-
(i) inspection of work, documents, records;
(ii) taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) taking certified samples of material;
(iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;..”

In the instant case, the Appellant wants CPIO to collect & collate information from Toll Operators on Mumbai-Delhi National Highway regarding movement of two vehicles belonging to one of his Suppliers in a commercial deal. Commission observes that collection and collation of information sought in the instant RTI Application will disproportionately divert the resources of public authority thereby attracting provisions of Section 7(9) of the RTI Act. No relief is ordered in the matter.

7 CIC/PWDDL/A/2018/106077
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03 Oct, 2019 Shri Neeraj Pant Vs. PIO/O/o Executive Engineer , Health Project Division (North), PWD, Rohini, Delhi

Information Sought
The Appellant filed RTI application dated 31.07.2017 seeking inspection of all documents relating to construction of 200 Bedded Hospital at Kaushik Enclave, Burari, Delhi.

Decision
Commission rejects the defence sought by the Respondent’s contention in over-charging the Appellant as being violative of the rules in the RTI Act. The decision of a predecessor bench of the Commission dated 15.10.2007 in file No. CIC/AT/C/2007/00282, as relied on by the Respondent, pertains to certain specific circumstances wherein the information sought by the applicant was voluminous and required constant engagement in collecting and collating the data.

Following are the relevant excerpts from the order thereof:

4. The CPIO pointed out that the complainant, Shri S.P. Goyal has been filing a large number of RTI-applications for information, documents and so on. Initially, the public authority had patiently provided to him the necessary information, but later they were extremely handicapped by the proclivity of the complainant to file multiple applications, very often in the same matter with more than one public authority and seek voluminous information including certified copies of letters he has been writing to the public authority in the past several years. CPIO pointed out that the public authority had to suspend its other regular work in order to attend to the RTI-requirements of this complainant. Since this is imposing cost on the public authority, it was decided to invoke the provisions of Section 7(3) of the RTI Act to charge to the complainant not only the fee as prescribed in the Rules for each page of the information provided, but also the cost for the effort expended on collecting, collating and transmitting the requisitioned information.

6. The respondents have submitted that this is quite reasonable considering not only the fact that the documents sought comprised a voluminous 668 pages, but also the fact that the complainant seeks similar information through repeated applications forcing the public authority to remain continuously engaged in collecting and collating the information to be provided to him.

8. ….The specific plea of the respondents for charging this cost to the complainant is that what the complainant has requested is certified copies of documents which run into hundreds of pages. A responsible officer has to carefully tally, compare the documents with the originals and certify these only thereafter, and certify, lest he errs into providing wrong certification. The certifying officer has to suspend his other work to attend to this RTI-request of the complainant, and hence a charge of Rs.50/- per page as cost for certifying the hundreds of pages of information which the appellant has asked for is not unreasonable.

9. The Commission finds merit in the respondents’ submission. The amount demanded from the complainant by the CPIO is reasonable considering the appellant’s sizeable requirement of certified copies.

10. The decision of the CPIO is upheld. The complaint is, therefore, rejected.

In the present case, Appellant has sought certified copies of specific 128 pages. Clearly the facts and circumstances of the case thereof relied on by the Respondent are different from the present case and therefore it cannot act as a binding precedent in the instant case. In the light of the foregoing, Commission hereby directs,

i. Shri Amit Kumar, Executive Engineer, Health Project Division (North), PWD, DR. BSA Hospital Complex, Sec-6, Rohini, Delhi-110085 to provide certified copies of the relevant documents upto 50 pages free of cost and thereafter, at Rs. 2/- per page for the remaining records to the Appellant, within 3 weeks from the date of issue of this order, under intimation to the Commission. It is made clear that non-compliance of these directions shall attract penal action against the concerned PIO by the Commission.

8 CIC/RAILB/A/2018/105503
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23 Sep, 2019 G. L. Maurya Vs. CPIO, M/o. Railways, Railway Board, New Delhi.

Information Sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Chairman, M/O. Railways, Railway Board, New Delhi (though answered by the CPIO treating it as RTI application) seeking information regarding division-wise water consumption along with name & designation of the railway officers competent to resolve the railway grievance pertaining to housekeeping, non-functional fans/charger points etc.

Decision
This Commission observed that the desired information on point no.1 is not compiled and available at the level of addressed CPIO and is spread over large no. of CPIOs requiring collection and compilation of data. About 68 divisions have sent their replies to the appellant thereby enclosing the information as available in their records and lot of efforts have been made by the concerned CPIOs. The information sought by the appellant is very wide in nature and it pertains to different CPIOs spread over multiple divisions across the country. From a plain reading of the appellant’s RTI application, it is apparent that he does not have the slightest clue regarding the availability of the information with the Railway Board and in turn, has raised queries of roving nature asking the CPIO to locate the information from the records of various divisions. It is apt to mention that the RTI Act, 2005 does not enjoin the CPIO to sift through the voluminous records of the railway authority scattered with various divisions to ferret out the information merely on the impractical demand of the RTI applicant. The collection and collation of the information sought has entailed disproportionate diversion of the resources of the public authority which is evident from the presence of the CPIOs/representatives from almost all the divisional offices who have turned up to represent the case at New Delhi and submitted bundles of papers. The applicant should have been more specific and addressed to the individual CPIO if large no. of CPIOs of a public authority are required to reply. But, this has not been done so, probably, on the premise that there is no realistic cap on seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005 and hence, it is solely the discretion of the applicant with regard to the quantum of the information sought. Nonetheless, the RTI Act, 2005 does not preclude the public authority from claiming refuse under the provisions of Section 7(9) of the RTI Act, 2005 in case voluminous data devoid of any specificity is sought by the RTI applicant. It would have been a prudent exercise if the CPIO had made reference to Section 7(9) of the RTI Act, 2005 rather than engaging various officers from all its divisions. In this regard, this Commission refers to the judgment of the the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in CBSE and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors. dated 09.08.2011 in C.A. No. 6454 of 2011, 2011 (8) SCC 497, wherein, it was observed as under:-
“Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and 52 eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”

However, whatever information could be supplied as per records has been supplied by the divisional offices and hence, this Commission does not cast any aspersions on the wisdom of the CPIO. But, the CPIO/Railway Board should have been more vigilant in responding to the RTI application in line with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 rather than for the sake of shifting his burden, transferring it to each and every zonal office for sending compiled information of their respective divisions to the RTI applicant. It is also to be noted that the RTI application has not been addressed to the ‘CPIO’ and instead, it has been addressed to the Chairman, Railway Board, New Delhi. This aspect has also been ignored by the CPIO, as the RTI Act, 2005 mandates that the RTI application should be addressed to the ‘CPIO’ of the Public Authority as per Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, 2005. In view of this, the CPIO/Railway Board is hereby issued a warning for future to be careful and not to contravene the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.

Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.

9 CIC/NHAIN/A/2017/605797/SD
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02 May, 2019 Neeraj Sharma VS. CPIO, National Highways Authority of India, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110075.

Information Sought
The Appellant sought information through 11 points regarding the status of the Govt. plan to plant 200 crore trees along the National Highways across the country to employ jobless youth, as gathered from a new article published on 23.06.2014.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that the Appellant has premised the instant RTI Application based on a newspaper report and has raised vague queries to know the status of tree plantation across one lakh kilometer of National Highways across the country. The RTI Application is rather frivolous in nature as it is apparent that the Appellant does not understand the enormity of information sought and no public authority will have such information in a consolidated form.

Appellant is warned to exercise his right to information judiciously in future and not resort to filing such open ended requests for information, compilation of which may cause tremendous strain on the resources of the public authority.

10 CIC/DOP&T/A/2017/166520/SD
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26 Mar, 2019 Nutan Thakur Vs. CPIO, DoPT, North Block, New Delhi – 110001.

Information Sought
The Appellant sought copy of entire file in DOP&T including the note sheet, and the various letters and documents exchanged between the DOP&T and different Officers regarding each of the criminal cases registered against IAS officers all over the country in the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that information sought in the RTI Application(s) is largely unspecific and is required to be gathered from
voluminous records which may entail disproportionate diversion of resources as per Section 7(9) of RTI Act. Nonetheless, Commission is convinced with the aspect of larger public interest involved in the matter that warrants disclosure of the details of criminal cases registered against IAS officers, which otherwise would have been exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. However, in view of the applicability of Section 7(9) of RTI Act as discussed above, Commission is not in a position to order disclosure of relevant files and related documents. Now, Commission is of the considered opinion that provision of the list of names of IAS officers for whom prosecution sanction has been granted as well as denied will effectively satisfy the Appellant’s request for information.

In view of the foregoing, Commission directs Sanjay Kumar, US & CPIO to provide the list of names of IAS officers for whom prosecution sanction has been granted as well as denied for the period starting from year 2010 till date of RTI Application. In the event, the said information is available with any other Section; the same should be procured and be directly provided to the Appellant by the CPIO. CPIO shall provide the information free of cost to the Appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect be duly sent to the Commission.

11 CIC/DSHIP/A/2017/119776
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11 Jul, 2018 SP Sinha Vs APIO Ministry of Shipping

ISSUE : The appellant sought information relating to appointment letters for the last 15 years in respect of Hindi Typists, Stenographer, promotion orders of Hindi Typist for the last 15 years and copy of DPC minutes and noting portions of the concerned promotion files of Mercantile Marine Deptt, Mumbai and other related information.
Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO he filed appeal before the CIC.
DECISION :After scrutiny of the reply given by the CPIO the CIC gave the following directions :
Section 11(1) procedure to be applied in third party information requests.
Fix a joint inspection of the relevant records on a mutually convenient date ,time and place in respect of voluminous records and give the requested information under section 7(6) of the Act free of cost.
Total Case uploaded: 11