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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection)
Supreme Court(Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection))/ High Courts(Miscellaneous (Law of Precedence, Compliant and Appeal, Freedom of Speech, Transparency in admission/selection))
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
16 CIC/NCCLD/A/2017/177362
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02 May, 2019 Divakar Kumar Vs. CPIO, Bharat Coking Coal Limited, Koyla Nagar, Dhanbad

Information Sought
The appellant filed an online application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), Dhanbad seeking information on two points pertaining to sexual harassment of female employees working in Coal India Limited (CIL) or its subsidiary, BCCL, including, inter-alia, (i) a copy of the circular / order / instructions prescribing the detailed procedure to be followed by the respondent authority in case any harassment against female employee is reported, and (ii) a copy of the guidelines/directives for the Controlling Authority of the aggrieved female employee for taking necessary action at their end.

Decision
The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that as per the respondent, there is no separate circular/guidelines of BCCL regarding the procedure to be adopted/followed by it when an incident of sexual harassment at workplace (BCCL/CIL) is reported by a female employee other than the one laid down in Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. In view of this, the Commission directs the respondent to file an affidavit with the Commission deposing that there is no separate circular/guidelines issued by CIL/BCCL for laying down the procedure to be followed when a complaint of sexual harassment is received by it other than the one laid down in Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Hence, no information can be provided to the appellant on point no. 1 of his RTI application. A copy of the affidavit shall also be provided to the appellant. The Commission further directs the respondent to provide the information sought vide point no. 2 of the RTI application regarding the action taken by the Controlling Authority of the aggrieved female employee when a complaint of harassment/molestation is received by it. The above directions of the Commission shall be complied with, within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

17 CIC/NCIPM/A/2018/614841/00558
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01 May, 2019 Anil Kumar Sidharth Vs. Central Public Information Officer, ICAR – National Research Centre for Integrated Pest Management, Lal Bahadur Shastri Building, Pusa Campus, New Delhi- 110 012

Information sought
1. Certified copy of the biometric attendance for the period from 10.11.2017 till date in respect of Sh. Randhir Singh, Assistant Finance & Accounts Officer.
2. Complete details regarding date, number of days and all type of leaves including station leave availed for the period from 10.11.2017 to till date in respect of Randhir Singh, Assistant Finance & Accounts Officer.

Decision
From a perusal of the relevant case records and considering the submissions of the CPIO, it is noted that the reply of the CPIO dated 20.03.2018 is grossly incorrect and the FAA in his order has also erred in upholding such an improper reply. The impropriety of these orders is on account of the RTI application being rejected stating that it should have been filed before the concerned public authority under the State Government. It is to be noted that NCIPM is a research institute which comes under ICAR. The ICAR itself comes under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, hence ICAR is a public authority under the Central Government and not under the State Government. Giving such an erroneous reply is appalling as this amounts to misguiding the appellant. Interestingly, the CPIO was not even aware that such a reply has been given online.

It is also noted that the appellant over time has filed multiple RTI applications which more or less cover the same subject matter in respect of a person, namely, Shri Randhir Singh Assistant Finance & Accounts Officer. It seems that the appellant by way of his RTI applications is trying to settle his personal vendetta against the said person. The appellant should note that every single repetition of a RTI application would unnecessarily demand the valuable time of the public authority, First Appellate Authority and if it also reaches the Second Appeal, that of the Commission. Such RTI applications of repetitive kind lead to obstruction of the flow of information with respect to other applicants and defeats the very purpose of the RTI Act. The said Act should be used wisely
and responsibly.

At this juncture, the Commission finds it relevant to draw attention to the observation made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of CBSE Vs Aditya Bandopadhyay, 2011 8 SCC which is reproduced as below,

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

The Commission holds that there is no public interest in this appeal, rather it is a case of private vengeance against a particular individual working in the same office. By filing multiple RTI applications on the same subject, the appellant is wasting the time and resources of the Public Authority and the Commission, for which the Commission admonishes the appellant.

18 CIC/LICOI/A/2017/178980-BJ +
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22 Apr, 2019 Mr. N Sunil Kumar Vs. CPIO & Manager (CRM), LIC of India

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information / clarification on 02 points regarding regularization of temporary employees and selection of open market candidates and inter alia desired the reasons for not selecting him for the post of sub-staff despite securing more marks (scored 78 marks) than Sri T. Ravinder Singh, who had scored 69 marks, etc.

Decision
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Union of India v. Namit Sharma in Review Petition [C] No.2309 OF 2012 IN Writ Petition [C] No.210 OF 2012 with State of Rajasthan and Anr. vs. Namit Sharma Review Petition [C] No.2675 OF 2012 In Writ Petition [C] No.210 OF 2012
had held as under:

“While deciding whether a citizen should or should not get a particular information “which is held by or under the control of any public authority”, the Information Commission does not decide a dispute between two or more parties concerning their legal rights other than their right to get information in possession of a public authority. This function obviously is not a judicial function, but an administrative function conferred by the Act on the Information Commissions.”

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 (C) 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. (C) 5220/2017 and CM No. 22184/2017 dated 29.08.2017 and in the matter of Shobha Vijender vs. Chief Information Commissioner W.P. (C) 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 observed that no further intervention was required in the matter. However, in respect of Appeal No CIC/LICOI/A/2018/138377-BJ, the Respondent was directed to give an affidavit to the effect that the answer sheet sought by the Appellant in his own case was not available with them within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. In other cases, since the matter was stated to be subjudice, no intervention of the Commission was required at present. The Respondent was instructed to comply with the directions of the Superior Courts in letter and spirit. For redressal of his grievance, however, the Appellant is advised to approach an appropriate forum.

19 CIC/IRADA/A/2017/183749-BJ
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22 Apr, 2019 Mr. Shankar Pujhari Vs. CPIO, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Parisrama Bhavanam, 3rd Floor Basnecr Bagh, Hyderabad – 500004

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 03 points regarding the steps taken against Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited, copies of the documents related thereto, list of staff in the Respondent Public Authority including the name, address, designation, mobile number along with the details of the PIO/ FAA etc.

Decision

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

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

“information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”

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

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

Moreover, in a recent decision in Govt. of NCT vs. Rajendra Prasad WP (C) 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.
20 CIC/DOREV/A/2017/167036-BJ
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08 Jan, 2019 Ms. Usha Chakraborty Vs. CPIO, Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, Shillong

Information requested
The Appellant vide her RTI application sought information on 07 points regarding the pay scale, the last pay drawn/pay on retirement, pay band and grade pay of her deceased husband at the time of his retirement, increments in retiring Scale/Grade, date of birth of family pensioner as per their office record etc.

The CPIO, vide its letter dated 21.07.2017 stated that the information could not be furnished due to inadequate information provided in the RTI application about the deceased husband viz his designation, date of retirement & last place of posting/station of retirement. Dissatisfied by the response, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 03.08.2017 transferred the Appeal under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act, 2005, to the CPIO and Assistant Commissioner CGST/Customs (P) Division, Agartala for necessary action, as the last posting of Appellant’s deceased husband was Agartala. Subsequently, the CPIO and Assistant Commissioner of Customs Division, Agartala vide its reply dated 07.09.2017 stated that the information solicited was not available with them as per service book of her deceased husband. However, they attached a copy of the service book page where pension calculation was done by PAO on 15.03.1995.

Decision
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission directs, the Commissioner, Customs, Shillong to re-examine the matter and furnish information in respect of the deceased husband of the Appellant within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order.

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 Appeal stands disposed with the above direction.
21 CIC/DOFPD/C/2017/194444/SD
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07 Jan, 2019 Lakhinder Singh Vs. CPIO, Directorate of Sugar and Vegetable Oil, Department of Food and Public Distribution, New Delhi

Information requested
The Complainant sought copy of order issued for recovery of amount drawn illegally by Mr. J.C.Gonsalvez and Mr. S.K.Srivastava, copy of order for recovery of amount illegally availed by Mr. Rajesh Kumar, MTS in Directorate of Sugar and Vegetable oil for availing LTC and copy of order for recovery of illegal HBA advance availed by Mr. Chhatar Singh, MTS in Directorate of Sugar and Vegetable oil.

CPIO submitted that appropriate reply was sent to the Complainant on 23.09.2016 which was returned undelivered citing reason of non-availability of any such person.

Decision
Commission upholds the reply provided vide letter dated 23.09.2016 and observes from the facts on record that the Complainant could perhaps be a fictitious person as both the CPIO reply as well as Commission’s notice of hearing has come back undelivered with similar remarks.

In view of the foregoing, the Complaint is dismissed.
22 CIC/DEXSW/A/2017/185758/SD
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19 Dec, 2018 Nirmal Singh Dhiman Vs. CPIO, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Sena Bhawan, New Delhi- 110011.

Information Sought
The Appellant sought copy of office noting on his representations dated 05.06.2017 and 14.08.2017 addressed to Sanjay Mitra, Defence Secretary.

Decision
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that no information has been sought at para iii (b) of the RTI Application as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act as the query is speculative in nature.

Commission takes into account the insistence of the Appellant that he has relevant proof of delivery of the two letters mentioned at paras iii (a) and iii (c) of the RTI Application. In view of this, CPIO is directed to make fresh efforts to trace the letters under reference as well as corresponding noting(s) and provide the same to the Appellant. The said information will be provided free of cost and a
compliance report to this effect shall be duly sent to the Commission.

In the event, the averred letters and corresponding noting(s) remain untraceable, Commission directs the CPIO to file an appropriate affidavit to this effect stating the efforts made in tracing out the information and the factum of non-receipt of letters and unavailability of file noting(s). The said affidavit should be sent to the Commission with its copy duly endorsed to the Appellant.

The aforesaid directions should be complied within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
23 CIC/DGEAT/A/2018/117567
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02 Nov, 2018 Sandeep Singh Jadoun Vs. PIO, DGEAT

Information sought
The appellant sought information about willful defaulters of bank loans ofRs 50 crore and above, with or without guarantees, the names ofguarantors, details of sanction of loans, default and details of NPAaccounts etc.

The appellant wanted also to know the cost and investment of the projectsfor employment generating schemes initiated by the Central Governmentbetween 2005 and 2018 along with the list of failed projects and projectswhich only existed on paper and were never introduced on the floor, withwhich the Ministry of Labour and Employment MoLE is concerned.

Decision
The Commission finds no merit in hiding the names of, detailsand action against willful defaulters of big bad loans worthhundreds of crores of rupees. The RBI shall disclose the bad debtdetails of defaulters worth more than 1000 crore at the beginning,of Rs 500 crore or less at later stage within five days and collectsuch information from the banks in due course to update theirvoluntary disclosures from time to time as a practice under Section4(1)(b) of RTI Act. Appeal is posted on 16th November 2018 forcompliance and penal proceedings.
24 CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/174982/SD, CIC/MESER/A/2017/158987/OFBKO/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/182416/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/176666/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/174979/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/167761/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/164309/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/163933/SD, CIC/OFBKO/A/2017/145932/S
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05 Sep, 2018 RP Verma Vs Indian Ordinance Factories, Dehradun

ISSUE : Misuse of RTI Act. Repeated applications/appeals submitted by the applicant regarding his promotion.
DECISION : a speaking order on his grievance be issued by the competent authority within 30 days. Applicant warned against the misuse of RTI Act in future and is advised to make judicious use of his right to information.
25 CIC/VS/C/2015/900167
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31 May, 2018 Hitender Vs M E A

ISSUE : Whether a Australian citizen holding a Overseas Citizen of India Card eligible for Right to Information under RTI Act, 2005.
DECISION : This Commission is of the opinion that the complainant who is an Australian citizen with the OCI card cannot be treated as Indian citizen for the purpose of seeking information u/s 3 of the RTI Act, 2005. Moreover the RTI Act, 2005 does not have any provision for furnishing information to overseas citizen of India. It is applicable to Indian citizens only.
26 CIC/MP/A/2016/000961
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26 Dec, 2017 Vikas Jain vs State Bank of India, Ludhiana

Section 3 — Citizen's right to seek information — the Commission held that the submissions of the respondents and holds that as per section 3 of the RTI Act that only citizens shall have the right to seek information. The appellant had not submitted any authorization from the Board of Directors of Company to seek information on behalf of the Company. The Commission upheld the decision of the FAA.
27 CIC/RBIND/C/2017/123750
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20 Nov, 2017 Shailesh Gandhi Vs CPIO, RBI, Central Office, Mumbai

ISSUE : The appellant submitted a complaint u/s 18(1)(f) of RTI Act, 2005 to the Commission against the ‘Disclosure Policy’ issued by the RBI on its website containing a list of information which shall not be given.
DECISION : The instant complaint under section 18(1)(f) of the Act which was based on assumptions and apprehensions of complainant without any conclusive attempt at exercising the right to information was not maintainable. ……..moreover the complainant could not substantiate the reasons for not filing an RTI application with the Public Authority before filing a complaint with the Commission.
The complaint is accordingly dismissed.
28 CIC/POSTS/A/2017/310909
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31 Jul, 2017 Ashok Singh Vs. PIO, Department of Posts

The appellant sought information on two articles/consignments booked through speed post on 26.02.2011 and 28.02.2011. CPIO stated that the information sought is more than six months old and as per the departmental guidelines, records pertaining to speed post will be weeded out / destroyed after an efflux of six months from the date of booking and also highlighted the fact that earlier also the same information was intimated and the same was upheld by the FAA. Being dissatisfied, the appellant approached this Commission. The officer stated that the records of the articles/consignments sought by the appellant were weeded out as per the preservation policy as the period is only six months. The Commission directs the respondent authority to publicise the rule of the Department Manual which prescribes for the period of making complaint in cases of non-delivery or loss of articles/consignment and the limitation on preservation of records on notice boards and send compliance report to the Commission, within 21 days from date of receipt of this order. Disposed of.
29 CIC/SB/A/2016/001267
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28 Jul, 2017 Munna Ahmad Vs PIO, Dargah Committee

ISSUE : The appellant is an Editor of magazine ‘Alfaz Today’ alleged that many irregularities were noticed by him against management of Dargah and hence he was filing RTI applications. The appellant sought copies of orders that have been passed in relation to the inquiry rent charged from the restaurant by the Dargah Committee, copies of proposals and agenda etc. The CPIO offered inspection of files with the required information. FAA upheld the decision of the CPIO. Dissatisfied the appellant filed appeal before the CIC.
The CPIO complained that as the Dargah management could not give advt to his magazine, the appellant started filing RTI applications to bring pressure on the authorities.
…..The appellant agreed to file a comprehensive complaint on all alleged irregularities.
Decision: The Commission directed the respondent to provide action taken report on the appellant’s representation, within 30 days from the date of receipt of the representation from the appellant.
….the appellant is warned that if he files any RTI application on the same subject matter it could be rejected by the public authority.
30 CIC/POSTS/A/2016/308590
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25 Jul, 2017 Poonam Kumari vs PIO, Department of Posts

The appellant sought information regarding the names, addresses and contact information of all officers in the post office in Sirsi Biya in the district of Sitamadi; copy of orders related to district post master general; copy of counselling register reservation roster; copy of all orders related to the roster; a appointment and merit list of officials along with documents based on which the officials were appointed. The officer stated that the files related to appointment was under custody of Headquarter, Patna Office, hence, the RTI application was forwarded. The Commission directs the respondent authority to provide the complete information sought about the punishment imposed on officials.
Total Case uploaded: 174