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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Definition of Information
Supreme Court(Definition of Information)/ High Courts(Definition of Information)
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CIC/RECOS/A/2017/139755
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01 Jul, 2019 Shri Om Prakash Verma Vs. PIO, O/o the Registrar of Science of Societies Old Court Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi - 110001

Information Sought
The Appellant vide RTI application dated 11.05.2016, sought information on two points regarding maintenance, electricity and water charges of flats in Aarti CGHS Ltd. located at Plot No. 1A, Sector 2, Dwarka, New Delhi and parking allotment in the Society, in the following manner: -

i) Two bed rooms (small) and three bed rooms (large) are making payment of maintenance, electricity and water charges as per the Society’s norms. 16 Flats having 2 bed rooms (large) super area of each flat 1231 Sq. feet are making payment of maintenance, electricity and water charges only for 8 flats in that each flat super area 1070 Sq. feet. It is requested that reason for non-recovery of maintenance, electricity and water charges from occupation of 16 flats for super area 1231 Sq. feet may be intimated at the same time it is emphasized that recovery of the maintenance, electricity and water charges from 16 flats occupants for super area 1231 Sq. feet may be done with penal charges forthwith.
ii) That number of parking held in the society. Number of parking allotted and not allotted. Reasons for non-allotment may be given that three rooms are held on the ground floor in Tower No. 2 in the car parking area under flat No. 212 & 213 Date of occupation and particulars of the occupants and amount of monthly rent being paid by these occupants from the date of occupation may please be intimated.

Having not received any response from the CPIO, the Appellant filed First Appeal dated 18.07.2016.FAA/Deputy Registrar-IV vide order dated 02.09.2016 directed the PIO/AR to provide the information to the Appellant in respect of para 2 and 3 within 15 days of the issue of his order.

Feeling aggrieved over non-compliance of FAO, the Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.

Decision
Upon perusal of records of the case, the Commission is of the opinion that the conduct of the PIO is clearly violative of the provisions of the RTI Act since there was no response from the CPIO. Even after specific directions by the FAA vide order dated 02.09.2016, it is on 07.03.2019 that information was denied advising the appellant to seek such information under Section 139 of the DCS Act, 2003.

The PIO-AR has not appeared nor submitted any justification for the delay of over two years in compliance of the FAA’s order. This directly contravenes the provisions of the RTI Act with respect to adhering to the timelines in supplying information/response against an RTI application. Hence, the Commission directs Registry of this Bench to issue Show Cause Notice to Sh. M G Sathya for causing inordinate delay in replying to the appellant and non-compliance of the orders of the FAA. The PIO/Notice must submit his response to the Show Cause Notice, explaining why maximum penalty should not be imposed upon him for violation of the RTI Act. The response must reach the Commission atleast one week prior to the date of hearing of the Show Cause case.

2 CIC/EICOI/A/2018/612893/00792
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03 Jun, 2019 Rahul R Vs. Asst. Director (T) & CPIO Export Inspection Council,

Information Sough
The appellant has sought the following information;
1. Copies of all the reports submitted by the EIC to the CIC and MoCI as per the Section 25 of the RTI Act, 2005 from the year 2005 (year wise).
2. Total number of RTI applications pending till date beyond 30 days of its receipt.
3. Details of all Decisions made by the CIC against RTI appeals (year wise) since 2005.
4. Whether the EIC has published sixteen categories of information as per Section 4(1)(b) of the Act on its website.

Decision
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that a timely reply was provided to the appellant's RTI application by the CPIO vide letter dated 13.11.2017. The CPIO in response to query 1 informed the appellant that the sought for information is voluminous, spanning over 12 years and is not available in the form requested and therefore could not be provided, while in reply to query 2, a categorical reply has been provided. With regard to points no 3 & 4, the appellant was directed to visit the respective websites of the concerned organisations.

With regard to points no 3 & 4 of the RTI application, the Commission reiterates the observation made by a coordinate bench of this Commission in the case of Sh. K. Lall Vs. Sh. M.K. Bagri, Assistant Registrar of Companies & CPIO, F.No CIC/AT/A/2007/00112 as under:

Section 2(j) of the RTI Act speaks of "the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority.......". The use of the words "accessible under this Act"; "held by" and "under the control of" are crucial in this regard. The inference from the text of this sub-section and, especially the three
expressions quoted above, is that an information to which a citizen will have a right should be shown to be a) an information which is accessible under the RTI Act and b) that it is held or is under the control of a certain public authority. This File no.:
CIC/EICOI/A/2018/612893 should mean that unless an information is exclusively held and controlled by a public authority, that information cannot be said to be an information accessible under the RTI Act. Inferentially it would mean that once a certain information is placed in the public domain accessible to the citizens either freely, or on payment of a pre-determined price, that information cannot be said to be 'held' or 'under the control of' the public authority and, thus would cease to be an information accessible under the RTI Act.

Thus, in the matter in hand, a point wise reply as per available records was provided and it cannot be said that the CPIO acted consciously and deliberately with intent to deny the information sought by the appellant.

The Commission finds no scope for intervention in the reply provided by the CPIO based on perusal of the facts on record. The Commission accordingly upholds the submission of the CPIO. No further action lies.

3 CIC/FSSAI/A/2019/100684-BJ
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03 Jun, 2019 Mr. Piyush Thakkar Vs. CPIO, Food Safety and Standard Authority of India, Mumbai

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information regarding the consignments arrived at Mumbai (WR) during the period from 01.01.2018 to 31.08.2018 in the format mentioned in the RTI application.

Dissatisfied due to non-receipt of any response from the CPIO, the Appellant approached the FAA. The reply of the CPIO/ order of the FAA, if any, is not on the record of the Commission.

Decision
The Commission referred to the definition of information u/s 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005 which is reproduced below:

“information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic 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.”

Furthermore, a reference can also be made to the relevant extract of Section 2 (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 which reads as under:

“(j) 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 ........”

In this context a reference was made to the Hon’ble Supreme Court decision in 2011 (8) SCC 497 (CBSE Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay), wherein it was held as under:

35..... “It is also not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant. The reference to ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ in the definition of ‘information’ in section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Khanapuram Gandaiah Vs. Administrative Officer and Ors. Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.34868 OF 2009 (Decided on January 4, 2010) had held as under:

6. “....Under the RTI Act “information” is defined under Section 2(f) which provides:

“information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic 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.”

This definition shows that an applicant under Section 6 of the RTI Act can get any information which is already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law. Of course, under the RTI Act an applicant is entitled to get copy of the opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed.”

7. “....the Public Information Officer is not supposed to have any material which is not before him; or any information he could have obtained under law. Under Section 6 of the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get only such information which can be accessed by the “public authority” under any other law for the time being in force. The answers sought by the petitioner in the application could not have been with the public authority nor could he have had access to this information and Respondent No. 4 was not obliged to give any reasons as to why he had taken such a decision in the matter which was before him.”

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by the Appellant not to press the matter further, no intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.

4 CIC/LICOI/A/2018/102357-BJ
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03 Jun, 2019 Mr. Sushil Kumar Chaurasiya Vs. CPIO Manager (CRM), LIC of India, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh – 482001

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 05 points regarding the educational records of SC/ ST employees, their appointment letter, service book, etc.

The CPIO, vide its letter dated 06.11.2017 denied disclosure of information on points 01 to 03 u/s 8 (1) (e) and (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. As regards points 04 and 05, it was stated that the information sought was not held with them. Dissatisfied by the response, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 06.12.2017 concurred with the response of the CPIO.

Decision
In this context, the Commission referred to the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commission & ors. SLP(C) No. 27734 of 2012 dated 03/10/2012 wherein it was held as under:

“13......The performance of an employee / officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Canara Bank Rep. by its Deputy Gen. Manager v. C.S. Shyam, Civil Appeal No. 22 of 2009 dated 31.08.2017 had held as under:

“5) The information was sought on 15 parameters with regard to various aspects of transfers of clerical staff and staff of the Bank with regard to individual employees. This information was in relation to the personal details of individual employee such as the date of his/her joining, designation, details of promotion earned, date of his/her joining
to the Branch where he/she is posted, the authorities who issued the transfer orders etc.

11) Having heard the learned counsel for the appellant and on perusal of the record of the case, we are inclined to allow the appeal, set aside the impugned order and dismiss the application submitted by the 1st respondent under Section 6 of the Act.

12) In our considered opinion, the issue involved herein remains no more res integra and stands settled by two decisions of this Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commissioner & Ors., (2013) 1 SCC 212 and R.K. Jain vs. Union of India & Anr., (2013) 14 SCC 794, 5 it may not be necessary to re-examine any legal issue urged in this appeal.

14) In our considered opinion, the aforementioned principle of law applies to the facts of this case on all force. It is for the reasons that, firstly, the information sought by respondent No.1 of individual employees working in the Bank was personal in nature; secondly, it was exempted from being disclosed under Section 8(j) of the Act and lastly, neither respondent No.1 disclosed any public interest much less larger public interest involved in seeking such information of the individual employee and nor any finding was recorded by the Central Information Commission and the High Court as to the involvement of any larger public interest in supplying such information to respondent No.1.”

Moreover, in Union of India v. R. Jayachandran WP (C) 3406/2012 dated 19.02.2014 the High Court of Delhi had held that passport details, copies of birth certificate and copies of records of educational qualification are personal information, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of individuals unless there was an overbearing public interest in favour of disclosure.

The Appellant was not present to contest the submissions of the Respondent or to establish the larger public interest in disclosure which outweighs the harm to the protected interests.

5 CIC/MPERS/A/2017/175992/SD
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16 May, 2019 Sandip Nana Patil Vs. CPIO, DoPT, New Delhi

Information Sought
The Appellant sought to know if there are rules and regulations for grievance redressal mechanism on PG Portal; if so, details and action taken thereon; if there is any proposal for compulsory VRS or termination of service etc.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that the information sought in the RTI Application is not as per Section 2(f) of RTI Act as Appellant has sought for clarification and interpretation of the CPIO based on vague queries. CPIO has provided an appropriate reply leaving no further scope of intervention at this stage.

6 CIC/MPERS/A/2017/158527/SD
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06 May, 2019 M Jameel Basha Vs. CPIO, DoPT, New Delhi – 110001

Information Sought
The Appellant sought certain clarification regarding Casual Labourers (Grant of Temporary Status and Regularization Scheme of Govt. of India, 1993.

Decision
Commission concedes with the submission of the CPIO as no information has been sought as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. It may be noted that under RTI Act, CPIO is not supposed to create information or interpret/ clarify/ deduct information in respect of queries/clarifications. Similarly, redressal of grievance, non-compliance of rules, contesting the actions of respondent public authority and suggesting correction in government policies are outside the purview of the RTI Act.

7 CIC/MPERS/A/2017/170080/SD
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01 May, 2019 Keshav Kumar Bhardwaj Vs. CPIO, Department of Personnel and Training, North Block, New Delhi-110003

Information Sought
The Appellant sought to know if certain annexure(s) referred in the RTI Application were considered by DoPT during disposing his representation dated 03.07.2015.

Decision
Commission upholds the submission of the CPIO based on perusal of facts on record as Appellant has not sought for any information as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act and under RTI Act CPIO is not supposed to provide deduction/clarification/interpretation. No further action lies.

8 CIC/ECOMM/A/2018/623983
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12 Feb, 2019 Razaak K Haidar Vs. CPIO, Election commission of India, New Delhi.

Information sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Election Commission of India (ECI), New Delhi, seeking an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Decision
The Commission notes that the definition of information under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act is as follows:
“Section 2(f)- “information” 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 electronic 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.”

Thus, the EVM which is available with the respondent in a material form and also as samples, as admitted by the respondent during the hearing, is an information under the RTI Act. The Commission also notes that as per the respondent, the software installed in the EVM is an intellectual property of a third party, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the third party concerned. However, the respondent had denied the information sought for, erroneously, under Section 6(1) of the RTI Act. The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent to provide an appropriate reply, as per the provisions of the RTI Act, to the appellant within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order under intimation to the Commission.
9 CIC/MORLY/A/2017/156476/SD
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10 Jan, 2019 M K Mondol Vs. CPIO, Deputy CPO(W), Administrative Building, PO – Chittaranjan

Information requested
The Appellant sought information regarding breakup of production of 292 three phase locos i.e WAP5, WAG9H, WAP7 in the production year 2016-2017 in Chittaranjan; Date of dispatch of loco from CLW, Date of withdrawal of three phase transformer from Store Department, Date of receiving of supplied transformer from supplier to store Department, Gate pass number and Name of Division to which Loco were sent.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that information sought by the Appellant in the form of columns indeed appears to be pertaining to scattered records which the CPIO will have to deduce and collate. Commission finds no infirmity in the reply of the CPIO on paras 5 and 6 of the RTI Application. The offer of inspection provided on para 5 of the RTI Application can be extended to the remaining columns if records for the same is available.

Commission directs the CPIO to provide an adequate opportunity of inspection of relevant records corresponding to Columns 1, 3, 5 and 7 of the RTI Application to the Appellant on a mutually decided date and time intimated to him telephonically and in writing. Copy of documents, if desired should be provided free of cost upto 25 pages and for pages beyond this limit prescribed fees shall be charged. The said directions should be complied within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect shall be duly sent to the Commission by the CPIO. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
10 CIC/UIICL/A/2017/167414-BJ
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08 Jan, 2019 Mr. T. C. Sadhwani Vs. CPIO, United India Insurance Company Limited

Information requested
There appellant sought redressal of his grievances through RTI application.

Decision:
The CIC is of the opinion that the RTI act 2005 is not a redress of grievance mechanism. The CIC quoted various judgements in this regard.
11 CIC/LICOI/A/2017/167220-BJ
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08 Jan, 2019 Mr. Ghanshyam Tarachand Parikh Vs. CPIO, Manager (CRM), LIC of India

Information requested
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information regarding the action taken on his complaint letter dated 30.08.2016 addressed to the Chairman with a copy to ZM and Sr.DM regarding the short payment of Rs. 16936.51 along with noting of the respective department on his representation.

The CPIO, vide its letter dated 14.07.2017 stated that interim relief payment of 40% was made as per the program given by the central office. Dissatisfied by the response, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 28.08.17, stated that the RTI application/ First appeal did not fall within the purview of the definition of information u/s 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005 and was treated as grievance hence the concerned department was instructed to resolve his grievance.

Decision
While agreeing with the public authority that the RTI Act 2005 was not redress of grievance mechanism, CIC directed the public authority to intimate the appellant the detailed facts of case within 15 days.
12 CIC/ERAIL/A/2017/110107/SD
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08 Jan, 2019 Janardan Prasad Pandey Vs. CPIO, Chief Communication Engineer, Eastern Railway, Kolkata

Information requested
The Appellant sought information regarding order of Dy CSTE/W/HWH which was alleged to be not complied by him.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that in the grounds of Second Appeal, Appellant has expressed grievance against his senior officers who have allegedly given adverse remarks in his APAR. In this context, he wants the Commission to intervene and settle his promotion related service matter.

Commission finds no scope of intervention in the matter, as grievance redressal is not within the ambit of the RTI Act.
13 CIC/NRAIL/C/2017/174228/SD
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07 Jan, 2019 S C Khanna Vs. CPIO, APIO cum ADEN/Safety, Divisional Office, Ferozepur, Punjab

Information requested
The Complainant sought information regarding return of some letter and alleged tampering of records.

Decision
Commission deems the CPIO reply appropriate based on perusal of facts on record as it has been observed that the information sought is speculative in nature and amounts to seeking interpretation of the CPIO which is outside the purview of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. In view of the foregoing, the Complaint is dismissed.
14 CIC/MSTCH/A/2018/632228
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04 Jan, 2019 Gagan Kumar Sharma Vs. CPIO, Deptt. of Science and Technology, New Delhi

Information requested
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi seeking information on four points pertaining to the INSPIRE Fellowship awarded by the Department of Science and Technology, including, inter alia, (i) marks distribution of all candidates selected for final offer letter under INSPIRE Fellowship in response to the Advertisement published in August 2017 pertaining to 1) Academic Merit, 2) Host Institute and Supervisor and 3) Research Proposal of School of Physics, University of Hyderabad including, inter-alia, (i) statement of marks of all selected candidates for INSPIRE Fellowship offer letter and (ii) names of all the faculty members in expert committee/panel of INSPIRE Fellowship scheme, Department of Science & Technology, India.

Decision
The Commission accepts the stand of the respondent that the RTI Act is not the proper law for redressal of grievances and that there are other appropriate fora for resolving such matters. Hence, no further action is required in the matter. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
15 CIC/IDBIL/A/2017/157369
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21 Dec, 2018 C.D. Sounder Rajan Vs. CPIO: IDBI Bank Limited, Regd. Office, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai

Information Sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), IDBI Bank Limited, Regd. Office, WTC Complex, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, seeking information on seven points, including, inter-alia (i) the reason why the net loss of IDBI Bank Ltd. in the fourth quarter widened to 3200 crores as on 31 March, 2017 against 1736 crores a year ago and the action taken in this regard, and (ii) the reason why the operating profit fell to Rs. 1389 crores from Rs. 1595 crore for the full year and the action taken in this regard.

Decision
The Commission, after hearing the submissions of the respondent and perusing the records, observes that the respondent no. 2 has denied the information sought vide point nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the RTI application on the grounds that the information sought is in the nature of queries, and hence, does not fall within the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. The Commission, however, observes that perhaps, the IDBI Management must have recorded the reasons for Net Loss of IDBI Bank for FYs 2016 and 2017, rise in Gross NPA of the Bank and the action taken by the Bank to increase its profits. In case it is so,IDBI Bank Ltd. is obliged to provide the same to the appellant.

The Commission, however, notes that the Notice for Hearing served upon the appellant was returned undelivered to the Commission with the remark “Deceased”. In view of the death of the appellant and the Commission’s Circular F.No. 2/Management regulation2007/CIC-MR dated 18.06.2018, the Commission directs the respondent to publish the information sought vide point nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the RTI application, as per the available records, suo-motu on their website, within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order under intimation to the Commission.

With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.

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

Total Case uploaded: 70