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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Public Authority
Supreme Court(Public Authority)/ High Courts(Public Authority)
1 20 Dec, 2019 Piyush Kumar Vs. CPIO, Hindustan Aeronauticals Limited, Accessories Division

Information Sought
The Appellant sought information through 3 points pertaining to the provision of gratuity, eligibility criteria and the maximum limit for the payment of gratuity to the teachers and staff of HAL School, Lucknow; date and time period as to when rules pertaining to gratuity and retirement benefits were last updated for the teachers and staff of HAL School, Lucknow etc.

At the outset it is adequately clarified that in the present matter, the Commission is not adjudicating upon the status of H.A.L School, Lucknow vis-a-vis the RTI Act. In view of the facts of the present case, it is relevant to bring out the provisions of Section 2(j) and 2(f) of the RTI Act which clearly stipulates that:

Section 2(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 the right to—...........”

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...”

Upon a conjoint reading of the two Sections, it becomes essentially clear that the RTI Application of the Appellant has to be construed in the spirit of the aforementioned provisions of the Act. It is emphasized therefore that even if hypothetically the CPIO’s claim of H.A.L School, Lucknow not being a public authority is conceded with, fact remains that the Appellant has sought information from a public authority and not from the averred school, therefore the contention of the CPIO that H.A.L School, Lucknow is not a public authority will not apply to the merits of this case.

In view of the foregoing, Commission directs the CPIO to procure available and specific information sought at para nos. 1 and 2 of the RTI Application from HAL School, Lucknow in certified form and provide the same to the Appellant free of cost.

The said direction should be complied within 15 days of the receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect be sent to the Commission by the CPIO.
2 19 Dec, 2019 Satyavir Yadav Vs. CPIO, National Highways Authority of India,

Information Sought
The Appellant sought information about disposal of the case i.e. Vijaypal Baghel vs. Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways dated 10.09.2008 and documents related to this case.

Commission also notes that record keeping and proper maintenance of files is a key function of any public authority. In view of the above, it is imperative to ascertain the facts leading to the misplacement of the records relating to the aforementioned letter dated 17.01.2009 marked by ADM, Baghpat to NHAI, Dwarka, New Delhi.

In view of the totality of the circumstances, a copy of this order is marked to the Chairman, NHAI, New Delhi to conduct an inquiry into the matter as to ascertain the circumstances under which the said letter dated 17.01.2009 could have been lost; fix responsibility on the erring officials and take appropriate action against such officers for misplacement of documents / records. The inquiry report shall also include the steps taken, if any, till date in searching for the averred letter. The inquiry report shall be concluded at the earliest but not later than 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. A copy of the said inquiry report shall be duly sent by the Chairman, NHAI, New Delhi to the Commission.
3 01 Nov, 2019 K Sambasivaiah Vs. CPIO, ISRO, Department of Space, Bengaluru

Information Sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), ISRO, Department of Space, seeking information on five points pertaining to M/s KHFM Hospitality Management Services, Sriharikota (Contractor), including, inter-alia, (i) Labour license recommended by Principal Employer and obtained by the Contractor, (ii) Category/ Categories (each Category nos.) of workers approved and operated by the Contractor.

The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Poorna Prajna Public School vs. Central Information Commission & ors. [WP (C) NO. 7265 OF 2007, decision dated 25.09.2009] had observed as follows:

“13…… Therefore, section 2(f) of the RTI Act requires examination of the relevant statute or law, as broadly understood, under which a public authority can access information from a private body. If law or statute permits and allows the public authority to access the information relating to a private body, it will fall within the four corners of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. If there are requirements in the nature of preconditions and restrictions to be satisfied by the public authority before information can be accessed and asked to be furnished from a private body, then such preconditions and restrictions have to be satisfied. A public authority cannot act contrary to the law/statute and direct a private body to furnish information. Accordingly, if there is a bar, prohibition, restriction or precondition under any statute for directing a private body to furnish information, the said bar, prohibition, restriction or precondition will continue to apply and only when the conditions are satisfied, the public authority is obliged to get information….”

In view of the above, the Commission notes that with regard to point no. 4 of the RTI application, the information sought by the appellant could have been obtained by the respondent from the contractor under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent to obtain information from the contractor under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, and provide the same to the appellant. The Commission also directs the respondent to provide the wage order dated 29.01.2018 to the appellant vide which the wages were revised. The above directions of the Commission shall be complied with, within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order under intimation to the Commission.

The Commission also observes that the CPIO was not aware that information can be obtained from a private person under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. Hence, the information sought vide point no. 4 was not provided to the appellant due to an error of interpretation of the RTI Act on the part of the CPIO concerned. However, it cannot be said that the CPIO had acted consciously and deliberately with a malafide intention to provide incorrect or misleading information to the appellant. Further, as per the decision of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of Kripa Shanker vs. Central Information Commission in W. P. (C) No. 8315/ 2017 dated 18.09.2017 no penalty can be imposed for wrong judgment. In view of this, in the absence of any malafide intention, it would not be appropriate to initiate any action for imposition of penalty on the CPIO. Nevertheless, the Commission counsels the CPIO, ISRO, Department of Space to be more careful in future so that such lapses do not recur and information is provided to the information seeker within the stipulated time.

With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.

4 01 Oct, 2018 Smt. Geeta Rani vs CPIO, M/o Youth Affairs & Sports

ISSUE: This case relates to the question whether BCCI is a public authority under section 2(h) of RTI Act, 2005 or not. The appellant sought information about provision/ guidelines under which the BCCI has been representing India and selecting players for the country. He specifically sought for whether the players selected by BCCI are playing for India or BCCI, how can BCCI (a Pvt. Association) represent our country in the National/
International cricket tournament, what is the benefit of Indian Govt. to give rights/authority to BCCI to represent our country in Domestic and International Tournament etc through 12 points. The CPIO replied on 14.12.2017 that the information is not available with the undersigned CPIO and BCCI has not been declared as Public Authority, hence RTI Application could not be transferred to BCCI. The appellant filed the first appeal regarding the same. The FAA upheld the decision of CPIO. Being dissatisfied with the above response the appellant approached this Commission.
DECISION: The Commission exercising its power under RTI Act, 2005 as interpreted by the Honorable Supreme Court in Tallapallam Bank case, considering the substantive issues concerning the nature and functioning of BCCI, based on observations of the Honorable Supreme Court and recommendations of the Law Commission of India, hereby holds the BCCI as the public authority under RTI Act and directs the President, Secretary and Committee of Administrators to designate deserving officers as Central Public Information Officers, Central Assistant Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities and put in place a system of online and offline mechanisms to receive the applications for information under RTI Act to respond them as early as possible but not later than 30 days from the date of application for information, immediately within 15 days.
5 12 Oct, 2017 H N Pathak vs PIO, BCI

Section 8(1) (j) — Personal Information — Section 4(1)(b) — Obligation of the Public Authorities — the Commission held that the BCI is under an obligation under section 4(1)(b) to voluntarily disclose every inspection report on their official website. The transparency in the process of recognizing law colleges, voluntary disclosure of inspection reports explaining inadequacies in faculty and infrastructure in law colleges will go a long way in removing the scope of corruption. The Commission directed the CPIOs to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed against each of them for denying information, and why the BCI should not be directed to pay compensation to the complainant. The Commission directed the BCI to comply with the provisions of section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act by updating these disclosures periodically.
6 31 Jul, 2017 Shri Ajeet Kumar Dubey Vs. CPIO, Northern Coalfields Limited

The appellant sought information regarding the purchase of air conditioners (carrier) and C.T (outdoor) which are installed in Krishnshila department. Having not received any reply from CPIO, the appellant filed first appeal. The FAA vide order dated 12.08.2015 directed the CPIO to furnish the information within 2 weeks to the appellant. Feeling aggrieved, the appellant approached the Commission. The CIC directed the CPIO to furnish comprehensive reply on the present status of the aforesaid claims. If a decision has been taken in the foregoing context, the same shall be communicated to the appellant alongwith reasons as contemplated in terms of Section 4(1)(d) of the RTI Act, 2005.
7 21 Jul, 2017 Shri Vipin Shah Vs. PIO, North East Railways, DRM’s Office, Ashok Marg, Prem Nagar, Hazratganj, Lucknow

The appellant has sought information regarding copy of the rule and regulation for giving compensation to passenger who dies or is rendered disabled due to an accident while travelling on railways, the parameter of age for awarding this compensation etc. The CPIO did not provide the requisite information. Being aggrieved with the CPIO’s non-reply, the appellant filed First Appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) also did not pass any order. The appellant submitted the second appeal before this Commission on 11.02.2016.

PIO submitted that they had intimated to the appellant vide letter dated 04.12.2015 that fee of Rs. 10 was not attached with his RTI application but he did not resubmit the said RTI application with the required statutory fee and hence the requisite information could not be provided to him under the RTI Act. The Commission advises the appellant that he is not under BPL category and physical disabled category is not an exemption under rule 5 of the RTI Rules, 2012. The appeal dismissed.
8 19 Jul, 2017 Mr. R K Jain Vs. CPIO, Account Officer, Customs Excise & Service Tax, Appellate Tribunal, West Block No. 2, R K Puram, New Delhi-110066

The appellant vide his RTI application sought information regarding the copies of all order sheets/record of proceedings/ notice of hearing issued to the parties, vakalatnama and related issues. Dissatisfied by non-receipt of any information, the appellant approached the FAA. The FAA vide its order dated 22.08.2014 directed the CPIO to furnish the required information within two weeks from the date of the order. The Commission finds that as per the provisions of Section 20(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, this is a fit case for levying of the maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- on CPIO for not providing the information to the Appellant. The Commission instructs the respondent to convene periodic conferences/seminars to sensitize, familiarize and educate the concerned officials about the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities.
9 23 Jan, 2017 Girdhari Sharan Sharma vs PIO National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)]

Section 4(1)(b) — Obligation of the Public Authorities — the appellant sought information about National Assessment And Accreditation Council (NAAC) report, inspection by Peer Team of S.S. Jain Subodh PG. College, Ram Bagh Circle, Jaipur, including list of 84 permanent lecturers presented during investigation, along with list of lecturers and students for subject of Public Administration in the College — the Commission directed the public authority NAAC to ensure that all the documents submitted by each educational institution submitted for accreditation along with the NAAC assessment report is easily accessible in its official website as per section 4(1) (b) of the RTI Act.
10 23 Jan, 2017 Pramod Kumar Singh vs PIO, Delhi Public School

Section 2(h) Public Authority. The Commission held that ac- cording to the representation made by the Principal, DPS, Angul is substantially aided by NALCO, a Public Sector Undertaking with an aid of Rs. 14 crores, approximately, per year which directly controls the functioning of the school and without such funding from NALCO it would be impossible for DPS, Angul to function. Hence, DPS, Angul is hereby declared a "public authority' under section 2(h) of RTI Act. As per section 19 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 any person may inspect documents or seek certified copies of documents pertaining to a body registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860. Thus, the appellant has a right not only under RTI Act but is also entitled to information under Societies Registration Act, 1860 and a society cannot claim that they do not have any obligation to disclose information.
11 13 Jan, 2017 Ravindra Verma vs AICTE

Section 4 Obligations of Public Authorities. The Commission held that it is necessary for the regulatory body like AICTE to insist upon declaration of salary being given to each faculty member along with the names, designations and the date of appointment etc. of faculty members. In fact the purpose of RTI is to use transparency as a tool to prevent the corruption in payment of approved scales to faculty. If this information is available as part of section 4(1)(b) declaration, the less paid teachers will get an opportunity to question the management.

The Commission under section 19(8)(iv) directed the public authority to make necessary change in the documents to be submitted by the educational institutions to include a column of salary payable to regular faculty and visiting faculty members, designation along with their appointment norms and publish the same on official website.
12 10 Jan, 2017 S.K. Muthumani vs IRWO, New Delhi

Section 4 Obligation of the Public Authorities. Section 8(1) (j) Personal Information. The Commission held that the issues raised by the appellant regarding construction and allotment of units in Chennai Phase-Il are of enormous significance and demand for disclosure of information is in larger public interest. The RTI application related to disclosure of details of members who had made application for allotment of units, commitment money deposited by them, etc. The aforesaid details should be disclosed to the appellant since a larger issue of public interest demands disclosure of information. It is extremely essential that all such public authorities engaged in activities of this nature must necessarily suo-moto disclose information pertaining to the project details, the administrative procedures adopted for allocation, construction and allotment of land and property to the individual members/applicants etc. The Commission directed the respondent to suo-moto disclose all the information sought by the appellant in his RTI application under section 4 of the RTI Act, on its website within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order.
13 04 Jan, 2017 S P Kala vs HNBG University

Section 4(1)(b)(vii) the public authority shall publish the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof. Section 4(1)(b)(x) the public authority shall publish the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees. Section 4(I)(b)(xiii) — the public authority shall publish particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it — the Commission held that it a very fit case to initiate penal proceedings. It is the duty of the University to honour and respect the rights of retiring Professor at least by granting his pension and other benefits on the day of retirement. The authorities should felicitate the retiring employee with a cheque and letter of sanctioning the pension. Any delay in performing this minimum duty by the public authority will reflect its inefficiency and the standard of management besides its disrespect towards those who served their institution for long years. The University should comply with the duty of publishing all relevant facts while formulating important policies [section 4(1) (c)] and provide reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions [under section In this case there is a clear absence of policy and also indecision, for which the public authority has a duty to give reasons. This public authority appears to have no knowledge of this express legal provision and statutory duty of transparency under RTI Act. The Commission directed to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed against him for the above reasons. The Commission recommended Vice Chancellor to issue appropriate directions to the concerned officers in this case and ensure that due gratuity is paid to the appellant and Commission recommended Executive Council of the University to direct and put in place a system to provide all the retirement benefits on the date of retirement of an employee itself and publish that information on their official website under sections 4(1)(b)(vii), (x) and (xiii) of RTI Act with regular updating.
14 28 Nov, 2016 Amit Yadav vs Central Public information Officer M/o Defence Army Welfare Education Society

The Commission held that AWES is not a public authority. Section 2(h)
15 28 Nov, 2016 Sheoji Kumar Parak vs PIC, DAV College Managing Committee

Section 2(h) Public Authority
DAV College Trust and Management Society.

Whether the DAV College Trust and Management Committee is public authority under the RTI Act? The Commission relied upon the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in DAV College Trust and Management Society v Director of Public Instruction [AIR 2008 P&H 1171, wherein it was held that DAV is a public authority. As per the RTI Act, either the PIO or an officer of that rank should represent the public authority. This responsibility cannot be abdicated by appointing a counsel.

The Commission directed Mr. Punam Suri, President of DAV, CMC to file an affidavit explaining about non-implementation of the High Court Order and reasons for deputing a Law Officer without instructions and information, and not sending the PIO or any other responsible officer of same rank. The Commission also directed Mr. Punam Suri, considering him as deemed PIC), to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed against him for not complying with the High Court Order to appoint PIO, for disrespecting the RTI and the Commission by not deputing the PIO or any other officer of same rank, and for delaying the information. The Commission under Section 19(8)(a)(ii) of the RTI Act directed the respondent authority to appoint a PIO and make necessary arrangements to provide information to the appellants under RTI Act, including furnishing of point-wise information to this appellant.
Total Case uploaded: 36