Addressing the issue of grant of pension through RTI application
The appellant had been permanently absorbed from Indian Navy to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and had some grievance regarding his pension. In this context, he filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Department of Public Enterprises seeking to know as to how he can be defined as a non-Central Government employee, after having served in the armed forces (Indian Navy) as an officer for 29 years; how can he be deprived of his PSU pension after having served with Bharat Electronics for 10 years and 5 months; and how EPS pension of Rs. 283/- per month can be a substitute to a PSU (BEL) executive of E V status after rending a pension eligible service of 10 years 05 months. The Public Information officer (PIO) informed the appellant that under 2007 pay revision, superannuation benefits will be those as indicated in DPE Office Memorandums (OMs) Copies of which are available on DPE website. He also stated that DPE is the nodal Department for issue of Policy guidelines in respect of Central Public Centre Enterprises (CPSEs). Superannuation benefits can be provided by CPSEs provided these are within broad parameters of DPE guidelines/ statutory requirements/ Government specific direction in respect of CPSEs. The PIO further clarified that the PIO is not supposed to create information or to interpret information or to solve the problems raised by the applicant or to furnish clarification to queries. Only such information can be provided under the Act, which is available with the public authority. The First appellate Authority (FAA) advised the appellant to seek further clarification in the matter from the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent stated that a letter was issued by the Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare and BEL management has denied the benefit to the appellant based on that order. The FAA had, therefore, advised the appellant to seek further clarification in the matter from the Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare. The respondent also clarified that the appellant is in receipt of pro-rata pension on absorption in BEL from Indian Navy for the period severed there. The pension under Employee’s Pension Scheme (EPS) is regulated as per the EPS, 1995, administered by Ministry of Labour & Employment. The appellant is already drawing pension under the EPF Pension Scheme.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the appellant has sought clarifications, reasons, interpretation in respect of his PSU pension. These queries do not fall under the ambit of definition of “information” as defined under section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act. The RTI Act cannot be used to make Public Authorities act in a certain way. The questions raised by the appellant are more in the nature of a grievance. According to the RTI Act the respondent public authority is expected to provide information as is held by them in material form or under their control. The Commission rejected the appeal stating that requisite information permissible under the RTI Act has been provided to the appellant. The CIC advised the appellant to take up the issue of grant of pension to him, before the competent authority.
Citation: Mr. Swarn Singh v. Department of Public Enterprises in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/001997
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1447
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