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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Disposal of Request
Supreme Court(Disposal of Request)/ High Courts(Disposal of Request)
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CIC/KSCHD/A/2017/604778-BJ+
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07 May, 2019 Mr. O. P. S. Marathia Vs. CPIO, Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital, New Delhi – 110001

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 04 points regarding certified copies of the Recovery Orders issued by the KSCH for recovery of excess payment made to Staff Nurses (Now Nursing Officers) since 1st January, 2008; certified copies of file notings along with the correspondences made with the concerned Staff Nurses in this regard, etc.

Decision
With regard to providing a clear and cogent response to the Appellant, the Commission referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in J P Aggarwal v. Union of India (WP (C) no. 7232/2009 wherein it was held that:

“ 7“it is the PIO to whom the application is submitted and it is who is responsible for ensuring that the information as sought is provided to the applicant within the statutory requirements of the Act. Section 5(4) is simply to strengthen the authority of the PIO within the department; if the PIO finds a default by those from whom he has sought information. The PIO is expected to recommend a remedial action to be taken”. The RTI Act makes the PIO the pivot for enforcing the implementation of the Act.”

8………….The PIO is expected to apply his / her mind, duly analyse the material before him / her and then either disclose the information sought or give grounds for non-disclosure.”
Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of R.K. Jain vs Union of India, LPA No.369/2018, dated 29.08.2018, held as under:

“9………………………….. That apart, the CPIO being custodian of the information or the documents sought for, is primarily responsible under the scheme of the RTI Act to supply the information and in case of default or dereliction on his part, the penal action is to be invoked against him only.”

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Shri Vivek Mittal v. B.P. Srivastava, W.P.(C) 19122/2006 dated 24.08.2009 had upheld the view of the CIC and observed

“…..that a CPIO cannot escape his obligations and duties by stating that persons appointed under him had failed to collect documents and information. The Act as framed, castes obligation upon the CPIOs and fixes responsibility in case there is failure or delay in supply of information. It is the duty of the CPIOs to ensure that the provisions of the Act are fully complied with and in case of default, necessary consequences follow”.

The Commission was appalled to learn about the blatant violation of Section 19 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005 wherein it is specifically mentioned that “Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in subsection (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority” . During the hearing, the Respondent informed that the First Appeal of the Appellant was replied on 04.07.2017 by the First Appellate Authority. However, on a closure perusal it was noted that the First Appeal of the Appellant in Case No. CIC/KSCHD/A/2017/604778-BJ was replied by the CPIO while referring to First Appeal dated 08.06.2017 which is in contravention to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

The Commission therefore referred to the OM No. 20/10/23/2007-IR dated 09.07.2009, wherein the distinction had been made between the appointment of the CPIO and FAA as per the provision of section 19(1) of the RTI Act, 2005. The relevant extract of the said OM is mentioned as under:

“3. Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see that the justice is not only done but it should also appear to have been done. In order to do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at.

5..............................The Act provides that the first appellate authority would be an officer senior in rank to the CPIO. Thus, the appellate authority, as per provisions of the Act, would be an officer in a commanding position vis a vis’ the CPIO. Nevertheless, if, in any case, the CPIO does not implement the order passed by the appellate authority and the appellate authority feels that intervention of higher authority is required to get his order implemented, he should bring the matter to the notice of the officer in the public authority competent to take against the CPIO. Such competent officer shall take necessary action so as to ensure implementation of the RTI Act.”

With regard to larger public interest involved in the matter raised by the Appellant in his RTI application, the Commission referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Bihar Public Service Commission v. Saiyed Hussain Abbas Rizwi: (2012) 13 SCC 61 while explaining the term “Public Interest” held:

“22. The expression "public interest" has to be understood in its true connotation so as to give complete meaning to the relevant provisions of the Act. The expression "public interest" must be viewed in its strict sense with all its exceptions so as to justify denial of a statutory exemption in terms of the Act. In its common parlance, the expression "public interest", like "public purpose", is not capable of any precise definition. It does not have a rigid meaning, is elastic and takes its colour from the statute in which it occurs, the concept varying with time and state of society and its needs (State of Bihar v. Kameshwar Singh ([AIR 1952 SC 252]). It
also means the general welfare of the public that warrants recognition and protection; something in which the public as a whole has a stake [Black's Law Dictionary (8th Edn.)].”

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Ashok Kumar Pandey vs The State of West Bengal (decided on 18 November, 2003Writ Petition (crl.) 199 of 2003) had made reference to the following texts for defining the meaning of “public interest’, which is stated as under:

“Strouds Judicial Dictionary, Volume 4 (IV Edition),'Public Interest' is defined thus: "Public Interest (1) a matter of public or general interest does not mean that which is interesting as gratifying curiosity or a love of information or amusement but that in which a class of the community have a pecuniary interest, or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected."

In Black's Law Dictionary (Sixth Edition), "public interest" is defined as follows: Public Interest something in which the public, or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected. It does not mean anything the particular localities, which may be affected by the matters in question. Interest shared by national government....”

In Mardia Chemical Limited v. Union of India (2004) 4 SCC 311, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India while considering the validity of SARFAESI Act and recovery of non-performing assets by banks and financial institutions in India, recognized the significance of Public Interest and had held as under :

“.............Public interest has always been considered to be above the private interest. Interest of an individual may, to some extent, be affected but it cannot have the potential of taking over the public interest having an impact in the socio-economic drive of the country...........”

Every action of a Public Authority is expected to be carried out in Public Interest. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Kumari Shrilekha Vidyarthi, etc vs. State of UP and Ors., 1990 SCR Supl. (1) 625 dated 20.09.1990 wherein it had been held as under:

“Private parties are concerned only with their personal interest whereas the State while exercising its powers and discharging its functions, acts indubitably, as is expected of it, for public good and in public interest. The impact of every State action is also on public interest.”

Similarly, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of LIC of India vs. Consumer Education and Research Centre, AIR 1995 SC 1811 dated 10.05.1995 had held as under:

“Every action of the public authority or the person acting in public interest or its acts give rise to public element, should be guided by public interest. It is the exercise of the public power or action hedged with public element becomes open to challenge.”

Furthermore, several queries raised were of such a nature, the details of which should have been suo motu disclosed in the public domain in the interest of public at large. The Commission observed that a voluntary disclosure of all information that ought to be displayed in the public domain should be the rule and members of public seeking information should be an exception. An open government, which is the cherished objective of the RTI Act, can be realized only if all public offices comply with proactive disclosure norms. Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandates every public authority to provide as much information suo-motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including the Internet, so that the public need not resort to the use of RTI Act. The
Commission therefore referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of CBSE and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors 2011 (8) SCC 497 held as under:

“37. The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under Clause (b) of Section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption.”

The Commission also refers to the Hon’ble Delhi High Court ruling in WP (C) 12714/2009 Delhi Development Authority v. Central Information Commission and Another (delivered on: 21.05.2010), wherein it was held as under:

“16. It also provides that the information should be easily accessible and to the extent possible should be in electronic format with the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. The word disseminate has also been defined in the explanation to mean - making the information known or communicating the
information to the public through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcasts, the internet, etc. It is, therefore, clear from a plain reading of Section 4 of the RTI Act that the information, which a public authority is obliged to publish under the said section should be made available to the public and specifically through the internet. There is no denying that the petitioner is duty bound by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act to publish the information indicated in Section 4(1)(b) and 4(1)(c) on its website so that the public have minimum resort to the use of the RTI Act to obtain the information.”

Furthermore, High Court of Delhi in the decision of General Manager Finance Air India Ltd & Anr v. Virender Singh, LPA No. 205/2012, Decided On: 16.07.2012 had held as under:

“8. The RTI Act, as per its preamble was enacted to enable the citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. An informed citizenry an transparency of information have been spelled out as vital to democracy and to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed. The said legislation is undoubtedly one of the most significant enactments of independent India and a landmark in governance. The spirit of the legislation is further evident from various provisions thereof which require public authorities to:

A. Publish inter alia:
i) the procedure followed in the decision making process;
ii) the norms for the discharge of its functions;
iii) rules, regulations, instructions manuals and records used by its employees in
discharging of its functions;
iv) the manner and execution of subsidy programmes including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;
v) the particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted. [see Section 4(1) (b), (iii), (iv), (v); (xii) & (xiii)].
B. Suo moto provide to the public at regular intervals as much information as possible [see Section 4(2)].”

Above all the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the decision of R.B.I. and Ors. V. Jayantilal N. Mistry and Ors, Transferred Case (Civil) No. 91 of 2015 (Arising out of Transfer Petition (Civil)No. 707 of 2012 decided on 16.12.2015 had held as under:

“The ideal of ‘Government by the people’ makes it necessary that people have access to information on matters of public concern. The free flow of information about affairs of Government paves way for debate in public policy and fosters accountability in Government. It creates a condition for ‘open governance’ which is a foundation of democracy.”

The Commission observed that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of Respondent was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency and effective access to the information. The public authority is also advised to re-examine the methodology by which the RTI applications are dealt with in this organization and evolve a robust mechanism for quick disposal of RTI matters in letter and spirit respecting the provisions of RTI Act.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission instructs the FAA to re-examine the points raised by the Appellant during the hearing and provide a suitable response with necessary enclosures within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission would further advise the Director Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital to develop a robust mechanism for the digitization of all administrative records of the Public Authority in accordance with Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005 to ensure its availability and preservation in posterity. Taking strong exception to the inadequate knowledge of the CPIO of its duties and responsibilities enshrined in the RTI Act, 2005, the Commission would like to place on record its immense displeasure over the functioning of the CPIO. The Director is instructed to initiate steps to strengthen its administrative mechanism considering the larger public interest in mind.

The Commission also instructs the Respondent Public Authority 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.

2 CIC/CRCLT/A/2017/608679-BJ
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03 May, 2019 Mr. Ashish Darak Vs. CPIO, Chemical Examiner GR – II, 3rd Floor, Central Excise Building, Ellora Park, Vadodara – 390023

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 06 points regarding the copy of the note sheets/ notings with regard to the samples of the Chemical Engineer and Others at CRCL, certified copy of all correspondence between the CRCL/ Chemical Engineer and the Revenue Department with regard to the aforementioned samples, method under which the Tests and Samples were conducted by the Chemical Examiner, etc.

Decision
The Commission finds the following observation of the Hon’ble High Court Delhi in Bhagat Singh v.CIC & Ors. WP(C) 3114/2007 pertinent in this matter.

“13. Access to information, under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right itself. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation or the prosecution of the offenders. It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) and other such provisions would become a haven for dodging demands for information.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in B.S. Mathur v. PIO in W.P. (C) 295 of 2011 dated 03.06.2011 had held that:

“19. The question that arises for consideration has already been formulated in the Court's order dated 21st April 2011: Whether the disclosure of the information sought by the Petitioner to the extent not supplied to him yet would "impede the investigation" in terms of Section 8(1)(h) RTI Act" The scheme of the RTI Act, its objects and reasons indicate that disclosure of information is the rule and non-disclosure the exception. A public authority which seeks to withhold information available with it has to show that the information sought is of the nature specified in Section 8 RTI Act. As regards Section 8(1)(h) RTI Act, which is the only provision invoked by the Respondent to deny the Petitioner the information sought
by him, it will have to be shown by the public authority that the information sought "would impede the process of investigation." The mere reproducing of the wording of the statute would not be sufficient when recourse is had to Section 8(1)(h) RTI Act. The burden is on the public authority to show in what manner the disclosure of such information would 'impede' the investigation...............

22. ...........The mere pendency of an investigation or inquiry is by itself not a sufficient justification for withholding information. It must be shown that the disclosure of the information sought would "impede" or even on a lesser threshold "hamper" or "interfere with" the investigation. This burden the Respondent has failed to discharge.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Adesh Kumar v. UOI and Ors. W.P. (C) 3542/ 2014 dated 16.12.2014 had held as under:

“10. A bare perusal of the order passed by the FAA also indicates that the aspect as to how the disclosure of information would impede prosecution has not been considered. Merely, citing that the information is exempted under Section 8(1)(h) of the Act would not absolve the public authority from discharging its onus as required to claim such exemption. Thus,
neither the FAA nor the CIC has questioned the Public Authority as to how the disclosure of information would impede the prosecution.”

Moreover, it was observed that as per the provisions of section 8 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005, no specific exemption is codified which allowed non-disclosure of information on the ground that the matter on which information is sought is sub-judice. In this context, the following extract of the decision of the High Court of Delhi in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. R.K. Jain in W.P. (C) 14120/ 2009 dated 23.09.2010 can be cited:

“5...........The matter being sub judice before a court is not one of the categories of information which is exempt from disclosure under any of the clauses of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.”

The Commission observed that the RTI Act, 2005 stipulates time limits in its various provisions relating to responding to RTI Applications, transfer of applications, filing and disposing of first appeal to ensure that a culture of information dissemination is strengthened so that a robust functioning of the democracy gets established. This was recognised by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission (W.P. (C) 3845/2007)(Dated 28 April, 2009) wherein it was held as under:

“14.......The court cannot be unmindful of the circumstances under which the Act was framed, and brought into force. It seeks to foster an “openness culture” among state agencies, and a wider section of “public authorities” whose actions have a significant or lasting impact on the people and their lives. Information seekers are to be furnished what they ask for, unless the Act prohibits disclosure; they are not to be driven away through sheer inaction or filibustering tactics of the public authorities or their officers. It is to ensure these ends that time limits have been prescribed, in absolute terms, as well as penalty provisions. These are meant to ensure a culture of information disclosure so necessary for a robust and functioning democracy.”

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of J.P Agrawal v. Union of India-2013(287) ELT25(Del.) held as under:

7.“it is the PIO to whom the application is submitted and it is who is responsible for ensuring that the information as sought is provided to the applicant within the statutory requirements of the Act. Section 5(4) is simply to strengthen the authority of the PIO within the department; if the PIO finds a default by those from whom he has sought information. The PIO is expected to recommend a remedial action to be taken”. The RTI Act makes the PIO the pivot for enforcing the implementation of the Act.

8..............The PIO is expected to apply his / her mind, duly analyse the material before him / her and then either disclose the information sought or give grounds for non-disclosure. A responsible officer cannot escape his responsibility by saying that he depends on the work of his subordinates. The PIO has to apply his own mind independently and take the appropriate decision and cannot blindly approve / forward what his subordinates have done.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of R.K. Jain vs Union of India, LPA No. 369/2018, dated 29.08.2018, held as under:

“9………………………….. That apart, the CPIO being custodian of the information or the documents sought for, is primarily responsible under the scheme of the RTI Act to supply the information and in case of default or dereliction on his part, the penal action is to be invoked against him only.”

The Commission felt that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of Respondent was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency and effective access to the
information.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties and in the light of the decisions cited above, the Commission instructs the Respondent to provide point-wise information to the Appellant within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.
3 CIC/DDATY/A/2017/173512-BJ
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02 May, 2019 Mr. Yashpal Kumar Vs. CPIO Dy. Director (NL) – I, Blk. A / 303, 3rd Floor, Vikas Sadan, INA, New Delhi – 110023

Information Sought
The Appellant / Complainant vide his RTI application sought information 02 points regarding the transfer of 3 Bigha 1 Biswa Land of the Khasra Number mentioned in the RTI application, Present Status of the land (Commercial/Residential, etc).

Decision
Both the parties remained absent during the hearing. On perusal of the records it was observed that no reply had been sent to the Appellant / Complainant. In the absence of both the parties, the Commission could not ascertain the factual position.

The Commission also observed that the RTI Act, 2005 stipulates time limits in its various provisions relating to responding to RTI Applications, transfer of applications, filing and disposing of first appeal to ensure that a culture of information dissemination is strengthened so that a robust functioning of the democracy gets established. This was recognised by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission (W.P. (C) 3845/2007)(Dated 28 April, 2009) wherein it was held as under:

“14.......The court cannot be unmindful of the circumstances under which the Act was framed, and brought into force. It seeks to foster an “openness culture” among state agencies, and a wider section of “public authorities” whose actions have a significant or lasting impact on the people and their lives. Information seekers are to be furnished what they ask for, unless the Act prohibits disclosure; they are not to be driven away through sheer inaction or filibustering tactics of the public authorities or their officers. It is to ensure these ends that time limits have been prescribed, in absolute terms, as well as penalty provisions. These are meant to ensure a culture of information disclosure so necessary for a robust and functioning democracy.”

The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of J.P Agrawal v. Union of India-2013(287) ELT25(Del.) held as under:

7.“it is the PIO to whom the application is submitted and it is who is responsible for ensuring that the information as sought is provided to the applicant within the statutory requirements of the Act. Section 5(4) is simply to strengthen the authority of the PIO within the department; if the PIO finds a default by those from whom he has sought information. The PIO is expected to recommend a remedial action to be taken”. The RTI Act makes the PIO the pivot for enforcing the implementation of the Act.

8..............The PIO is expected to apply his / her mind, duly analyse the material before him / her and then either disclose the information sought or give grounds for non-disclosure. A
responsible officer cannot escape his responsibility by saying that he depends on the work of his subordinates. The PIO has to apply his own mind independently and take the appropriate decision and cannot blindly approve / forward what his subordinates have done.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of R.K. Jain vs Union of India, LPA No. 369/2018, dated 29.08.2018, held as under:

“9………………………….. That apart, the CPIO being custodian of the information or the documents sought for, is primarily responsible under the scheme of the RTI Act to supply the information and in case of default or dereliction on his part, the penal action is to be invoked against him only.”

The Commission observed that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of Respondent was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency and effective access to the information.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and no submissions available on record, the Commission directs Pr. Commissioner and Secretary, DDA to depute an officer of appropriate seniority to enquire into the matter and furnish information to the Appellant as per the provisions of the RTI
Act, 2005 within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order besides fixing responsibility and accountability on the concerned CPIO. A copy of the report should be furnished to the Appellant / Complainant under intimation to the Commission.

4 CIC/AIRIN/A/2017/160323/SD
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01 May, 2019 Rakesh Kumar Jha Vs. CPIO, Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi-110003

Information Sought
The Appellant sought information through 13 points regarding ‘Operation Rahat’ conducted during the Yemen crisis.

Decision
Commission based on the perusal of facts on record finds no scope of intervention in the reply provided by Ms. Vasudha Chandna, GM-FD & CPIO, Air India Ltd. Further, the delay in providing the same is also condoned as the information sought is indeed exhaustive and at many places required deduction and interpretation of the CPIO given the interrogative nature of the queries. As regards the issue faced by CPIOs of Air India Ltd. in dealing with RTI Applications, a copy of this order is marked to the Chairman & Managing Director, Air India Ltd. to take appropriate action for redressing the internal system of processing RTI Applications. In doing so, a Nodal RTI Cell may be set up for better and quicker disposal of RTI Applications such as the present one which requires collation of data from several departments. This will ensure that the Nodal Cell will have a CPIO each for every department, who will be responsible to liaise with the department assigned to him and provide information directly to the applicants.

5 CIC/CCFLT/A/2017/130438
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13 Feb, 2019 Pushpa Devi Vs. CPIO, Central Coalfield Limited, Ramgarh, Jharkhand

Information sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Central Coalfield Limited (CCL), Ramgarh, Jharkhand seeking a certified copy of service records of her late husband Shri Budhnath Badhwar (PIS No. 12129086).

Decision
The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that the appellant is seeking information pertaining to the deceased Shri Budhnath Badhwar. The Commission observes that the legal heir of a deceased is entitled to receive information pertaining to the deceased person. However, the appellant should produce a valid document(s) to show that she is a legal heir of the deceased to get the information. The Commission, therefore, directs the CPIO to provide information to the appellant within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy a death certificate of late Shri Budhnath Badhwar and a document to establish that the appellant is his legal heir.

The Commission also observes that no reply in response to the RTI application was furnished to the appellant. The Commission, therefore, directs the Registry of this Bench to issue a Show Cause Notice to the CPIO, Central Coalfield Limited, Ramgarh, Jharkhand for explaining as to why action under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act should not be initiated against him.
6 CIC/NFRLG/C/2017/115809/SD
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08 Jan, 2019 Rajesh Kumar Vs. CPIO, DGM (G), Northeast Frontier Railway, Maligaon, Guwahati

Information requested
The Complainant sought to know personal details including name, father’s name and permanent addresses of all Assistant Loco Pilots, Senior Loco Pilots posted at New Jalpaiguri and senior Loco Pilots of Passenger Mail Express.

Decision
Based on the relief sought in the Complaint, the instant matter is being treated as a Second Appeal.

Commission observes that the reply provided by Respondent No. (2) is completely inappropriate as it was incumbent upon him to seek assistance of the concerned holder of information under Section 5(4) of the RTI Act.

Now, Commission directs Respondent No.2 to provide to the Complainant the names of all Assistant Loco Pilots and Senior Loco Pilots posted at New Jalpaiguri as well as Senior Loco Pilot of Passenger Mail Express after procuring the same from the concerned branch. The said information will be provided free of cost within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect shall be duly sent to the Commission.

The remaining details such as father’s name and permanent address of the third parties sought in the RTI Application will be exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. Hence no relief is ordered in this regard.
7 CIC/NINCL/A/2017/166963-BJ
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08 Jan, 2019 Mr. S. Thiyagarajan Vs. CPIO, National Insurance Company Limited, Vellore

Information requested
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 86 points inter alia the list of agents of the DO and all branches along with their phone numbers from 2006 to 31/12/2016, whether Transfer Mobilisation Policy -150 Km was implemented from 2006 to 20/1/2017, if yes, the transfer details of all the staffs, whether the Micro offices fell under the DOs, if yes, the list of the addresses and staff details thereof and other issues related thereto.

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

Decision
The Commission felt that correct and timely response was the essence of the RTI mechanism enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities. In this context, the Commission referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission (W.P. (C) 3845/2007) (Dated 28 April, 2009) wherein it had been held as under:

The court cannot be unmindful of the circumstances under which the Act was framed, and brought into force. It seeks to foster an "openness culture" among state agencies, and a wider section of "public authorities" whose actions have a significant or lasting impact on the people and their lives. Information seekers are to be furnished what they ask for, unless the Act prohibits disclosure; they are not to be driven away through sheer inaction or filibustering tactics of the public authorities or their officers. It is to ensure these ends that time limits have been prescribed, in absolute terms, as well as penalty provisions. These are meant to ensure a culture of information disclosure so necessary for a robust and functioning democracy.”

Furthermore, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court decision in J P Aggarwal v. Union of India (WP (C) no. 7232/2009 it has held that:

“The PIO is expected to apply his / her mind, duly analyse the material before him / her and then either disclose the information sought or give grounds for non-disclosure.”

A reference was drawn to the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of J.P Agrawal v. Union of India-2013(287) ELT25(Del.) wherein it was held as under:

“It is the PIO to whom the application is submitted and it is who is responsible for ensuring that the information as sought is provided to the applicant within the statutory requirements of the Act. Section 5(4) is simply to strengthen the authority of the PIO within the department; if the PIO finds a default by those from whom he has sought information. The PIO is expected to recommend a remedial action to be taken”. The RTI Act makes the PIO the pivot for enforcing the implementation of the Act.”

Furthermore, in OM No. 20/10/23/2007-IR dated 09.07.2009, while elaborating on the duties and responsibilities of the FAA, it was stated that:

Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi-judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see that the justice is not only done but it should also appear to have been done. In order to do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at.

The Commission observed that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of Respondent was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency and effective access to the information.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and on perusal of records, the Commission remands the case to the FAA to examine the matter on merits and issue a speaking order within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission also cautions the CPIO to attend to the RTI applications diligently in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

The Commission also instructs the Respondent Public Authority (CMD) 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.

The Appeal stands disposed with the above direction.

8 CIC/SBIND/C/2018/108387
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04 Jan, 2019 Mohd. Shahabuddin Vs. CPIO, State Bank of India, Muzaffarpur

Information requested
The complainant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), State Bank of India, Chandwara Branch, Muzaffarpur, seeking information on four points pertaining to unauthorized withdrawal from his Savings Account 100xxxxxx16, including, inter-alia, (i) the competent authority vide whose order unauthorized withdrawal of Rs. 1200/- was made from his account by the Bank, and (ii) the justification for withdrawal of the above said amount.

Decision
The Commission, after hearing the submission of the complainant and perusing the records observes that, a reply dated 21.11.2017 has been furnished by the respondent to the complainant in response to his RTI application dated 26.09.2017. Hence, there has been a delay of about a month in responding to the RTI application. Further, the complainant stated during the hearing that incomplete information has been furnished to him. Moreover, since the respondent was not present in the hearing, the reason for the same could not be ascertained. The Commission, therefore, directs the Registry of this Bench to issue a Show Cause Notice to the CPIO, State Bank of India, Regional Office, Muzaffarpur, for explaining as to why action under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act should not be initiated against him.
9 CIC/OBKOC/A/2017/602267
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31 Dec, 2018 Rajesh Kumar Sharma Vs. CPIO, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Head Office, Gurgaon.

Information requested
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Oriental Bank of Commerce, Corporate Office, Gurgaon, seeking information on five points pertaining to the letters written by M/o Finance to CVO of the Bank, including, inter-alia, (i) the current status of the letter dated 10.02.2016 received from the Ministry along with the action taken thereon by the Bank, and (ii) the current status of the letter dated 12.01.2017 written by him to the CVO of the Bank along with the action taken thereon.

Decision
The Commission observes that the appellant has a right to know as to what action has been taken by the respondent authority on his complaints. The Commission observes that the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of Kamal Bhasin vs. Radha Krishna Mathur and Ors., [W.P.(C) 7218/2016 dated 01.11.2017] had held as under:

In the present case, the petitioner stands as a relator party as he is also one of the complainants. The petitioner is not seeking any personal information regarding respondent No. 3, but merely seeks to know the outcome of the complaint made by him and other such complaints. The PFC Officers Association had pointed out certain conduct which according to them was irregular and warranted disciplinary action; thus, they would be certainly entitled to know as to how their complaints have been treated and the results thereof.

In the circumstances, this Court directs the respondent to disclose to the petitioner as to what action had been taken pursuant to his complaint and other similar complaints made against the then CMD. The petitioner would not be entitled to any noting and deliberations of the Group of Officers or Disciplinary Authority but only information as to what action was taken in relation to the complaints in question.”
10 CIC/MOENF/C/2017/178184
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30 Jul, 2018 Subhash Chandra Agrawal vs CPIO, MOEF and Climate Change

ISSUE :The appellant sought information relating to “conflicting rules of environment – Ministry aand MIDC puts entrepreneurs in problem” on fourteen points. The appellant was not satisfied by the reply of the CPIO and the FAA on grounds of the same being improper/incomplete. The appellant also sought for compensation for the detriment caused to him for the delay in supply of information to him.
DECISION : The CPIO is directed to affirm on affidavit and submit to the Commission, duly endorsed to the appellant that in respect of para 7 of the stated RTI application complete reply was provided vide replies dated 27/6/18 and 17/4/18. Otherwise he should furnish a revised consolidated reply within 10 days from the receipt of this order to the appellant on this point.
The Commission is of the opinion that a token amount of Rs 1000/- should be paid as compensation to the appellant u/s 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act for the detriment caused to him. This amount is to be paid by the Public Authority, MOEF and Climate Change.
11 CIC/POSTS/A/2018/102584
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25 Jun, 2018 BK Porwal Vs PIO, Deptt of Posts

ISSUE :The applicant, facing an inquiry for sexual harassment, requested for documents relating to the inquiry. The CPIO rejected the request under sections 8(1)(d) and (g).
DECISION : By denying the information the appellant was not only harassed by the public authority but also by the CPIO. While the public authority denied him the documents which he was entitled under SHW Act of 2013, the CPIO denied them under RTI Act.
…..the Commission concludes that denial of information to the appellant was without any reasonable cause and hence liable for maximum penalty of Rs 25,000/-
The Commission also finds it a fit case to recommend the public authority to initiate disciplinary action against the CPIO.
12 CIC/PAROI/A/2017/607198
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18 Jun, 2018 Neeraj Sharma Vs CPIO, Rajya Sabha Sectt

ISSUE : The appellant sought information relating to cyber frauds with reference to house panel news report viz name of house panel/committee; chairperson of house panel/committee, date of constitution and other related issues.
DECISION : The Commission observed from the reply of the respondent “that the subject matter of the of entire application concerns the Lok Sabha Sectt. Accordingly a copy of the application has been transferred to the Lok Sabha Sectt on 28/8/17. So far as this Sectt is concerned the information desired may be treated as nil “
The Commission observed that reply was given to the appellant vide which he was intimated about transfer of his application. Therefore the contention of the applicant that he was not informed about the transfer of his application is not sustainable. The delay in transfer has been duly explained by the respondent. Hence the Commission do not find any reasons to impose penalty upon the CPIO.
13 CIC/PMOIN/A/2017/124760
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19 Feb, 2018 Soni Eramath Vs CPIO, PMO

ISSUE : The applicant sought information as to whether Hon’ble President of India has administered the oath of office to the Prime Minister of India in the name of ‘Mr Narendra Modi”.
The respondent stated that they had given a reply to the appellant vide their letter dated 6/1/17 indicating that the oath was administered to the Hon’ble Prime minister of India as per the provisions of the Constitution of India. The respondent further stated that Aadhar card/voter card of the Hon’ble PM cannot be revealed as per exemption under section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act, 2005
DECISION : The action/steps taken by the respondents in giving response to the RTI application is satisfactory.
14 CIC/SH/C/2016/000310
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19 Jan, 2018 A Gopi Krishna Vs CPIO, Syndicate Bank, Visakhapatnam

ISSUE :The complainant filed a complaint before the Commission on the grounds that the CPIO did not respond to his RTI application.
The respondent submitted that the CPIO did not receive the complainant’s RTI application and therefore information could not be provided to him within the stipulated time.
DECISION : As per the submission of the complainant the RTI application was handed over to the bank ‘by hand’ by the brother of the appellant. The bank did not accept it, thereafter the appellant sent it by post to the respondent.
The Commission directed the FAA, Syndicate Bank, Visakhapatnam, to inquire into the matter as to whether the RTI application was received in the branch and if so, what action was taken on the RTI application. The FAA shall also, if required, take appropriate departmental action against the officers responsible for the misplacement of the RTI application. A copy of the inquiry report along with the action taken report may be provided to the Commission as well as to the appellant within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.
15 CIC/SA/A/2016/001710/MP, CIC/SA/A/2016/001715/MP
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05 Dec, 2017 Ajay Kumar Vs N I T Patna

ISSUE : The appellant had sought for details of medical bills and LTC availed by Dr Ashok , Director NIT as per proforma provided by the appellant. Not satisfied with the information provided by the CPIO, the appellant filed an appeal before the FAA. The FAA did not seem to have adjudicated on the appeal.
DECISION : The Commission directed the CPIO to provide to the applicant only the total amount of LTC claimed by Dr Ashok, Director NIT as per available record, excluding the names of family members and complying with the provisions of the RTI Act within 7 days.
Total Case uploaded: 117