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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Disposal of Request
Supreme Court(Disposal of Request)/ High Courts(Disposal of Request)
16 04 Dec, 2019 Sh. Kewal Chand Vs. Garrison Engineer (Utility), Bathinda Mil Station

Information Sought

Appellant filed an RTI for seeking
1. details of muster roll in a certain format from Jan 1984 to Jan 1987 for the post of MPA and Mazdoor separately
2. Copy of pay bills
3. The post on which the appellant was working when his services were terminated by the respondent from the muster roll in Jan 1987

On the appointed date and time, the respondent CPIO, Shri Ramesh Vithova Pawar, Asstt. Engineer was present. The appellant could not be contacted through V.C. The appellant was contacted over phone and he said that the statement of the CPIO that records are destroyed is incorrect. Relevant records are still available but the respondent organisation is not providing necessary records to the appellant. He requested the Commission to exert pressure on the respondent to provide the copies of relevant records as early as possible.

After several correspondences, the respondent has been able to provide the appellant necessary records till 1985 but despite this the appellant approached the CPIO repeatedly and the respondent has not been able to provide a copy of records of 1985 and 1987 during the hearing. CPIO submitted that the case papers are 25 years old and destroyed. The CPIO was directed to provide a copy of the Retention Schedule prevalent during this period and also to explain under whose authority the said records were weeded out/destroyed. The record showing the approval of the officer concerned for destruction of the said record should also be furnished to the Commission by the CPIO for further necessary action.

The respondent CPIO is directed to provide the abovestated information within four weeks from the date of receipt of this order. Further action as deemed fit will be taken after receipt of the above report from the CPIO.
17 04 Dec, 2019 Shri R.K. Singh Vs. PIO, Executive Engineer (Building)-II Shah, South, EDMC, Deptt.-II, South Zone, 5th Floor, Karkardooma, Delhi

Information Sough
The Appellant vide RTI application dated 24.01.2017, sought information on eight points regarding booking of illegal construction on the property no. 274, 276 to 277, located at Guru Ram Das Nagar, Laxmi Nagar. Among the queries the Appellant sought inter alia notices served with respect to the booking, upon whom it was served and other related information.

Considering the conduct of the Notice, the Commission finds it appropriate to mention a decision dated 04.08.2011 of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi passed in the case of J.P. Agrawal Vs. UOI and Ors, [W.P. (C) 7232/2009], whereby the exact role and responsibility of the PIO has been aptly discussed by the Delhi High Court in a case arising out of similar facts. Relevant portion of the said decision are as under:

“...8. ..............., the very requirement of designation of a PIO entails vesting the responsibility for providing information on the said PIO. As has been noticed above, penalty has been imposed on the petitioner not for the reason of delay which the petitioner is attributing to respondent no.4 but for the reason of the petitioner having acted merely as a Post Office, pushing the application for information received, to the respondent no.4 and forwarding the reply received from the respondent no.4 to the information seeker, without himself "dealing" with the application and/or "rendering any assistance" to the information seeker. The CIC has found that the information furnished by the respondent no.4 and/or his department and/or his administrative unit was not what was sought and that the petitioner as PIO, without applying his mind merely forwarded the same to the information seeker. Again, as aforesaid the petitioner has not been able to urge any ground on this aspect. 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.

9. This Court in Mujibur Rehman Vs. Central Information Commission MANU/DE/0542/2009 held that information seekers are to be furnished what they ask for and are not to be driven away through filibustering tactics and it is to ensure a culture of information disclosure that penalty provisions have been provided in the RTI Act. The Act has conferred the duty to ensure compliance on the PIO. This Court in Vivek Mittal Vs. B.P. Srivastava MANU/DE/4315/2009 held that a PIO cannot escape his obligations and duties by stating that persons appointed under him had failed to collect documents and information; that the Act as framed casts obligation upon the PIO to ensure that the provisions of the Act are fully complied. Even otherwise, the settled position in law is that an officer entrusted with the duty is not to act mechanically. The Supreme Court as far back as in Secretary, Haila Kandi Bar Association Vs. State of Assam 1995 Supp. (3) SCC 736 reminded the high ranking officers generally, not to mechanically forward the information collected through subordinates. The RTI Act has placed confidence in the objectivity of a person appointed as the PIO and when the PIO mechanically forwards the report of his subordinates, he betrays a casual approach shaking the confidence placed in him and duties the probative value of his position and the report. ....”
18 03 Dec, 2019 Ms. Seema Deep Vs. CPIO, Dept. of Revenue

Information Sought
The Appellant vide her RTI application sought information in respect of the copies of requisition letters (along with the Annexure/enclosures, if any) sent by the Public Authority to UPSC for filling up the posts of Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise for the vacancy years 2013-
14 to 2018-19, the list of the officers who were promoted to the grade of Assistant Commissioner for the vacancy years 2013-14 to 2018-19 in terms of the quota of the promotee officers as per the Recruitment Rules of the said post.

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 Appellant was not present to contest the submissions of the Respondent or to substantiate her claims further.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by the Respondent, the Commission cautions the CPIO and the FAA for exhibiting negligence in dealing with the RTI applications in accordance of the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. The Respondent was however, advised to endorse a copy of their written submissions sent to the Commission to the Appellant, as well.

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.

The Appeals stand disposed accordingly.
19 02 Dec, 2019 Jagdish Soni Vs. CPIO, Prasar Bharati,

Information Sought
The Appellant sought information about broadcasting of serial “Musical Ramkatha” from 22.09.1995 to 04.10.1995 and period afterwards.

On the basis of proceedings during hearing, Commission directs the CPIO to provide digital copy of recording of “Musical Ramkatha” available in 13 parts from 22.09.1995 to 04.10.1995 which was broadcasted by Akashwani, Alwar on the 16 GB Pen-drive which will be brought by the Appellant personally. CPIO will inform the Appellant regarding time and date on which he will provide opportunity to digitally copy the relevant recording on the Pen-drive brought by him. The aforesaid direction of the Commission shall be complied within 15 days of receipt of this order and a compliance report be sent to the Commission by the CPIO.
20 21 Nov, 2019 Shivaji Prasad Choudhary Vs. CPIO, M/O. Railways, East Central Railway, Patna, Bihar.

Information Sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), M/O. Railways, East Central Railway, Patna, Bihar seeking following information pertaining to ticket no.05303214 and 05303063:
1. On above mentioned tickets who travelled.
2. Till which station they travelled.
3. At what time train no. 12295 on date 16.05.2017 reached Danapur, Patna junction.”

This Commission after submission of the respondent and perusal of records is of the view that appellant should given opportunity to deposit the requisite sum with the CPIO as per RTI Act and the CPIO is categorically directed to provide available and relevant information as sought in the RTI application to the appellant. Further it was held by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India judgment dated 20th March, 2018 vide Writ Petition (Civil) No.194 of 2012 titled Common Cause v. High Court of Allahabad & Anr. as follows:

“We are of the view that, as a normal rule, the charge for the application should not be more than Rs.50/- and for per page information should not be more than Rs.5/-.”

In view of above, the Commission directs CPIO to meticulously adhere to the provisions of the RTI Act for charging requisite fees.

21 19 Nov, 2019 Shri Arvind Sharma Vs. PIO/Exe. Engineer (M-I), NDMC, Rohini Zone, PitamPura, Delhi

Information Sought
The Appellant filed RTI application dated 21.12.2017 seeking information on 7 points;
1. Provide a certified copy of complaint received from Naresh Gupta R/o F-2/93-94 Sector-16, Rohini, and Delhi.
2. Provide a certified copy of the survey report prepared by your area JE Rohit Sharma on 16.05.2017.
3. Provide a certified copy of the Dept. order issued for removal of the so-called encroachment in front of F-2/95, Ground Floor, Sec-16, Rohini, Delhi. (Appellant’s address)
4. Provide information whether the house owner was served with a prior notice or not? Etc.

In expressing its displeasure over the conduct of the PIO, the Commission sets aside the reply provided by the PIO vide letter dated 17.01.2018 for being mechanical and unfounded. After hearing the submissions of the Appellant it is an established fact that he is not a third party but instead is an interested party to the case. If pursuant to a complaint, the Respondent public authority decides to demolish any unauthorised construction, then it is imperative, both in law and practice that a show cause notice be issued to the owner of the property to afford him an opportunity of showing cause why such order shall not be made.

In view of these circumstances, Commission hereby directs the concerned PIO to:
(i). Provide a revised reply to the Appellant against each of the queries raised in the RTI application including the copy of complaint for unauthorized construction, copy of survey report, departmental order issued for demolition etc., under intimation to the Commission, within 3 weeks from the date of issue of this order.
(ii). Submit a satisfactory and detailed explanation for a) providing a vague and evasive response to the Appellant, b) non-compliance of the FAA’s order, thereby causing an obstruction in the flow of information, c) vitiating the hearing of Second Appeal by remaining absent during hearing despite service of notice for the hearing in advance and d) violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. This explanation must reach the Commission within 3 weeks from the date of issue of this order.

A copy of this order shall also be marked to the FAA to ensure timely compliance of this order. It is made clear that non-compliance of the stipulated timeline shall attract penal action against the concerned PIO.

22 18 Nov, 2019 Ravinder Kamboj Vs. CPIO, Ministry of External Affairs, J.N. Bhawan, New Delhi

Information Sought
The appellant filed an online application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Embassy of India, Prague, Czech Republic, seeking information on two points pertaining to grant of Tourist VISA, inter-alia (i) number of Czech Republic citizens who applied Indian Tourist VISA to the Indian Embassy, Prague between 01.11.2016 to 01.11.2017, and (ii) how many applications were accepted and how many were rejected.

The Commission, after hearing the submissions of the respondent and perusing the records, observes that due information has been provided to the appellant by the respondent though with a considerable delay. However, the delay was due to misinterpretation of the RTI application. The Commission also observes that misinterpretation of the RTI application cannot be taken as malafide or deliberate intent on the part of the CPIO to deny the information sought. Hence, in the absence of any malafide intention, it would not be appropriate to initiate any action for imposition of penalty on the CPIO.

With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.

23 08 Nov, 2019 Neetesh Warade Vs. CPIO, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Dist. - Dantewada, Chitalanka, Chhattisgarh

Information Sought
The appellant has sought a copy of the answer sheet for Summative Assessment – II for the subject – Mathematics of Himani Thakur who was studying in class 9th in the session 2016-17 in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Dantewada. Even, if the candidate has given retest/supplementary exam in lieu of Summative Assessment – II, provide the copy of the same.

Based on a perusal of the record, it is noted that the reply dated 17.10.2018 by the CPIO was not on time. The CPIO did not provide any cogent reason for the delay that occurred. The Commission observes that the CPIO has failed to carry out his statutory responsibility under the RTI Act in not providing any reply to the appellant within the stipulated time frame. The Commission issues a strict warning to the CPIO Dantewada to remain careful in future and ensure that proper procedure is followed as per the provisions of the Act.

In respect of the destruction of information by termites, it is relevant to note that the CPIO cannot provide information which is not available. However, the CPIO can affirm on oath that the information sought was destroyed.

In view of the above observations, the Commission is of the opinion that the CPIO should affirm on affidavit and submit to the Commission stating that the information sought is destroyed due to termites attack and a copy should be duly endorsed to the appellant. The CPIO is also directed to provide the details of other documents which were also destroyed in the termite attack and a copy of the enquiry report through which the destruction of documents were enquired into to the appellant within 7 days from the date of the receipt of the order. The said documents should be endorsed to the Commission in compliance with this order.
24 11 Oct, 2019 Mukesh Kumar Vs. CPIO, M/o. Railways, Northern Railway, 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), M/O. Railways, Northern Railway, New Delhi seeking action taken on his complaint dated 18-10-2017.

This Commission observed that Mr. Guru Pal Singh, Sr. DMM/Nodal CPIO, NR/New Delhi has not applied his mind in transferring the RTI application and the hearing notice of the Commission to the office of the ADSO/NDLS. He did not appreciate the fact that the transfer was done to the head of the ADSO/NDLS against whom the allegations were made in the complaint dated 18-10-2017. Hence, Mr. Guru Pal Singh, Sr. DMM/Nodal CPIO, NR/New Delhi is hereby issued a warning for future to be careful and not to contravene the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

Further, the respondent is directed to provide the information to the appellant on the action taken on his complaint dated 18-10-2017, within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.

With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.

25 04 Oct, 2019 Ravindra Kisan Selare Vs. CPIO, India Govt. Mint, Mumbai.

Information sought
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), India Govt. Mint, Mumbai seeking information as follows:-
1. “Provide the zerox copy of pay fixation sheet prepared by Establishment Section w.e.f. 01.01.2016 till date as per the implementation of 7th Pay Commission along with file noting
and signature of the officers.
2. Provide the zerox copy of Pay Arrears sheet prepared by Establishment Section w.e.f. 01.01.2016 as per the implementation of 7th Pay Commission along with file noting and signature of the officers.”

This Commission directs the respondent to provide the point-wise information to the appellant with reference to the RTI application as per the RTI Act, 2005, within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.

26 01 Oct, 2019 Venkatesh Nayak Vs. CPIO-I: Department Of Economic Affairs, North Block, New Delhi.

Information Sought
The issues under consideration arising out of the second appeal dated 09.01.2018 include non-receipt of the following information raised by the appellant through his RTI application dated 07.07.2017 and first appeal dated 17.08.2017:-
(i) The total number of representations or petitions or communications, by whatever name called, received by the Government of India, till date, from donors regarding the need for maintaining confidentiality of their identity while making donations to political parties;
(ii) A clear photocopy of all representations or petitions or communication by whatever name called, described at para 1 above;
(iii) A clear photocopy of the Draft Electoral Bond Scheme prepared by your Department for consultation with the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission of India.

The Commission after adverting to the facts and circumstances of the case, hearing all the parties and perusal of records, feels that the RTI application has not been properly addressed by the respondent. The Department of Economic Affairs being the respondent to whom the RTI application was originally addressed, is expected to identify the public authority which has the possession of the information sought by the appellant. In view of this, the Department of Economic Affairs is directed to co-ordinate with the Department of Financial Services, Election Commission of India and provide consolidated reply to the appellant within four weeks from date of receipt of this order. Meanwhile, it is noted that the Department of Financial Services has not given any reply to the RTI application after the same was forwarded by the Department of Economic Affairs. Therefore, the Registry of this Bench is directed to issue hearing notice to Department of Financial Services along with the other parties in the next hearing and the matter is adjourned.
27 24 Sep, 2019 Patel Jigneshkumar K Vs. CPIO, Department of Higher Education, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

Information Sought
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. List of top 174 Colleges / Universities / institutions that were shortlisted for SWACHHTA Ranking 2017.
2. Details of Criteria (Subjective / Objective / Other) for shortlisting 174 Colleges / Universities / Institutions out of 3500 Higher Educational institutions.
3. Details of visit schedule of officials from UGC and AICTE to inspect the premises of shortlisted 174 Colleges / Universities / Institutions.
4. Details of Colleges / Universities / Institutions from Gujarat State who applied for online invitation for SWACHHTA Ranking 2017 of Higher Educational Institutions during the application period from 20th July, 2017 to 31st July, 2017.

Based on a perusal of the record submitted by the parties it is noted that the CPIO MHRD grossly erred in providing an irrelevant reply to the appellant vide letter dated 27.12.2017. The CPIO MHRD’s conduct in having provided an irrelevant reply amounts to violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. Moreover, after the receipt of the hearing notice he should have provided a point wise reply.

It appears to be more of a lack of understanding of the provisions of the RTI Act and a casual approach in replying by the CPIO MHRD. Accordingly, the CPIO MHRD is issued a strict warning to be careful in providing timely and appropriate replies to the RTI applications and refrain from providing incorrect and irrelevant replies which may attract penal action u/s 20(1) and (2) of the RTI Act.

The CPIO MHRD is given a last opportunity to provide a point wise reply to all the 4 points as per the discussions during the hearing to the appellant within 7 days from the date of receipt of the order. In respect of point no. (4), the CPIO shall take assistance of the concerned section u/s 5(4) of the RTI Act.

28 19 Sep, 2019 Dr. Rohit Jain Vs. CPIO, Medical Council of India, MCI Building, Pocket – 14, Sector – 8, Phase – 1, Dwarka, New Delhi – 110077

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information regarding the minimum qualification to sign Laboratory Reports as per the Board of Governors in Supersession of Medical Council of India.

The CPIO, vide its letter dated 06.02.2019 stated that no decision had been taken by the BOG. Dissatisfied by the response of the CPIO, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 15.02.2019, concurred with the response of the CPIO.

Furthermore, the High Court of Delhi in the matter of Hansi Rawat and Anr. Vs. Punjab National Bank and Ors. LPA No.785/2012 dated 11.01.2013 held as under:

“6. The proceedings under the RTI Act do not entail detailed adjudication of the said aspects. The dispute relating to dismissal of the appellant No.2 LPA No.785/2012 from the employment of the respondent Bank is admittedly pending consideration before the appropriate forum. The purport of the RTI Act is to enable the appellants to effectively pursue the said dispute. The question, as to what inference if any is to be drawn from the response of the PIO of the respondent Bank to the RTI application of the appellants, is to be drawn in the said proceedings and as aforesaid the proceedings under the RTI Act cannot be converted into proceedings for adjudication of disputes as to the correctness of the information furnished.”

Moreover, in a recent decision in Govt. of NCT vs. Rajendra Prasad WP © 10676/2016 dated 30.11.2017, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi had held as under:

6. The CIC has been constituted under Section 12 of the Act and the powers of CIC are delineated under the Act. The CIC being a statutory body has to act strictly within the confines of the Act and is neither required to nor has the jurisdiction to examine any other controversy or disputes.

7. In the present case, it is apparent that CIC had decided issues which were plainly outside the scope of the jurisdiction of CIC under the Act. The limited scope of examination by the CIC was: (i) whether the information sought for by the respondent was provided to him; (ii) if the same was denied, whether such denial was justified; (iii) whether any punitive action was required to be taken against the concerned PIO; and (iv) whether any directions under Section 19(8) were warranted. In addition, the CIC also exercises powers under Section 18 of the Act and also performs certain other functions as expressly provided under various provisions of the Act including Section 25 of the Act. It is plainly not within the jurisdiction of the CIC to examine the dispute as to whether respondent no.2 was entitled to and was allotted a plot of land under the 20-Point Programme.

A similar view delineating the scope of the Commission’s jurisdiction was also taken by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Sher Singh Rawat vs. Chief Information Commissioner and Ors., W.P. © 5220/2017 and CM No. 22184/2017 dated 29.08.2017 and in the matter of Shobha Vijender vs. Chief Information Commissioner W.P. © No. 8289/2016 and CM 34297/2016 dated 29.11.2017.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission instructs the Respondent to re-examine the RTI application and provide an updated response to the Appellant within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order, as agreed. Moreover, as elaborated in the aforementioned paragraphs, the Respondent Public Authority is also advised to develop / update their website to answer such queries as raised in the instant RTI application in the FAQ Section with appropriate clarifications / interpretations, if any, for the ease and convenience of the citizens at large.

29 17 Sep, 2019 Joys P Thomas Vs. CPIO, M/o Defence,

Information sought:
The Appellant sought information pertaining to letter no. 584/D/Vig.II/2012 dated 31.01.2014 for issue of prosecution sanction against the Appellant in CBI case no. 37/2013 filed in Pune, CBI and disposed of. He specifically sought for copy of the covering letter under which copies of FIR, attachment of witnesses and copy of charge sheet of the aforementioned case.

Commission has gone through the case records and observes that information sought in the RTI Application has been denied by the CPIO without invoking any exemption Section of the RTI Act and CPIO has acted solely on an advise given by the CBI.

In view of the proceedings during hearing, CPIO is directed to provide copy of relevant covering letter along with list of enclosures of CBI sent to MoD pertaining to issue of prosecution sanction against him in CBI case No. 37/2013 filed in Pune CBI Court to the Appellant free of cost within 15 days of receipt of this order. A compliance report to this effect shall be sent by the CPIO to the Commission.
30 17 Sep, 2019 Mr. Shubham Jaiswal Vs. CPIO and Delhi Development Authority Assistant Director (LA)

Information Sought:
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 05 points regarding the sanctioned map of Hardev Puri, Gautam Nagar, Delhi; sanctioned area and map of House no. 489, and whether any property bearing H. No.489A, Hardev Puri, Gautam Nagar, Delhi, had been sanctioned by the Respondent Public Authority and issues related thereto.

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.”
Total Case uploaded: 154