Alleging pay disparity between the zonal railways’ stenographers & Railway Board’s stenographers, the appellant sought copies of File notings /correspondence between Railway Board, MoF & DoPT – CIC: Denial u/s 8(1)(a) upheld as documents were confidential
1.The appellant filed an RTI application dated 25.7.2013 seeking copies of the various documents related to parity in pay structure of Stenographers. The PIO responded on 23.8.2013. Appellant filed first appeal dated 10.9.2013 with the first appellate authority. The FAA responded on 23.10.2013. The appellant filed second appeal on 12.11.2013 with the Commission.
2. The appellant participated in the hearing through video conferencing. The respondent participated in the hearing personally.
3. The appellant referred to his RTI application dated 25.7.2013 and stated that there is pay disparity between the zonal railways’ stenographers and Railway Board’s stenographers. The appellant stated that the Railway Board has written some letters to Ministry of Finance, DOPT etc. The appellant said that the Railway Board has received replies from Ministry of Finance and DOPT. The appellant stated that he is seeking copies of the correspondence made between Railway Board, Ministry of Finance and DOPT. The appellant also sought copy of file noting on the subject. The appellant said that the respondent has denied the documents u/s 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act.
4. The respondent stated that information has been denied on points 1, 2, 3 and 4 of para 4 of the RTI application and in so far as point 5 is concerned, the current status on the issue of grant of pay parity to the stenographers is still pending for final decision and accordingly the appellant was informed in August, 2013.
5. The respondent stated that there are several court cases on the specific issue filed by the railway stenographers which are being contested by the railway administration. The respondent said there are several other court cases on the issue filed by stenographers of other nonsecretariat offices which are being contested by Ministry of Finance. The respondent stated that the documents sought by the applicant are considered as confidential by both the Ministries, therefore they denied the information/documents u/s 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; of the RTI Act.
6. The respondent stated that stenographers association of the railways has already submitted their demands to the 7th CPC and the issue is also being examined by the 7th CPC. The respondent said that release of documents may affect the process of deliberation in the 7th CPC.
7.The action taken by the respondent is in conformity with the RTI Act.
8. Commission’s intervention is not required in the matter. The appeal is disposed of. Copy of decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri R. Venkataraman v. Ministry of Railway, Railway Board in Appeal No.CIC/VS/A/2014/000421