Appellant asked for the reasons for not undertaking the repair-work & officer responsible for it - He was made to run from pillar-to-post & his RTI application was merely transferred from one dept. to another - Penalty of Rs 10,000/- imposed on PIO
Show Cause Hearing u/s 20 (1) of the RTI Act
Both the parties are present. The Commission vide order dt. 16.03.2015 had issued a show cause notice to the PIO&EE(M-I)/Rohini Zone, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, PIO&EE(MI), West Zone, and EE(M-II), West Zone, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, for deliberately not providing information under the RTI Act. AE(M-I)/WZ furnished a letter from PA to EE(M-I)/WZ written to SE(W)-I, wherein it is stated that he cannot appear before the Commission as his wife is hospitalised in Sri Ganga Ram Hospital. His presence is, thus, excused. Written submission dt. 15.04.2015 is received from PIO/EE(M-I)/WZ, wherein it is stated that the area in question of Ward C-57, Paschim Vihar was transferred in this division in July 2010 from the O/o EE(M-II)/WZ vide letter dt. 14.07.2010 and the amount Rs. 1596974/- was deposited with the IGL on 30.03.2009 with the O/o EE(M-II)/WZ and thus, no information was available in the office regarding deposition of amount by IGL and RTI application was transferred to O/o EE(M-II)/WZ for providing information. It is also stated in the written submission that the said area, at present, has already been transferred to EE(M-I)/RZ (in May 2012) and as such necessary action regarding restoration work will have to be taken by Rohini Zone.
Written Submission dt. 15.04.2015 were received from Shri S.K. Mittal, PIO/EE(M-II)/WZ. It is stated therein that the RTI application/first appeal was not filed in their dept. and that the appellant was informed that no information is available in their division as the concerned ward was transferred to the O/o EE(M-I)/WZ in July, 2010. He further stated that the money was deposited with the Unified MCD and accordingly, the matter was taken up at the HQ level with the Dy. Chief Accountant to sort out the issue of details of cheque deposited prior to the trifurcation and that details of the same were furnished to the appellant on 08.09.2014. He also stated that since the area was transferred, along with the JE, the requisite information will be available with the said JE and other concerned officials of EE(M)-I/WZ, SDMC and EE(M)- I/RZ, NDMC.
Written submission dt. 20.04.2015 were received from Shri S.K. Vashisht, PIO/EE(M-I)/RZ stating that the delay in providing information to the appellant vide letter dt. 04.09.2013 in response to his RTI application which was received in the office on 01.07.2013, was because the RTI application was marked to the then APIO, whose name was also involved with a CBI enquiry. He stated that since no money was deposited with their dept., no work of restoration has been done. He further stated that the further course of action was to be taken by PIO, WZ. The RTI application dt. 13.06.2013 was filed to Commissioner, NDMC and was replied by PIO/EE(M-)/RZ providing point-wise reply and he transferred the RTI application to AC/WZ, SDMC for providing information on Points 1 & 2. The FAA/SE/RZ in his order directed PIO/EE(M-I)/RZ to provide specific point-wise information to the appellant within 8 days. FAA/SE-I/WZ in his order dt. 02.01.2014 had directed PIO/EE(M)-I/WZ to provide modified reply to the appellant. PIO in compliance of the same informed the appellant vide letter dt. 07.01.2014 that no information is available in the O/o EE(M)-I/WZ and same can be obtained from the O/o EE(M)-II/WZ.
Written submission from the appellant has also been received. After hearing the respondent and on perusal of record, the Commission finds the RTI application has been transferred from one dept. to another. However, the custodian of information was PIO/EE(M-I)/RZ when the RTI application was filed on 13.06.2013. The information Points 3 & 4 was provided by the PIO at the very first instance. However, for providing information on Points 1 & 2, the RTI application was transferred to AC/WZ when the area had already been in the jurisdiction of Rohini Zone in May, 2012. Further, no explanation has been provided by Shri S.K. Vashisht, the erstwhile PIO/EE(M-I)/RZ regarding compliance of FAA’s order neither in his written submission nor before the Commission. The Commission also observes that the PIOs have been lackadaisical in their approach and have given a poor display of their professional acumen. The appellant, in the instant case, wants to know about the reasons for the repair-work not being undertaken and the officer responsible for the same, but he is made to run from pillar-to-post and his RTI application is merely transferred from one dept. to another. Moreover, PIO/RZ misguided the appellant by transferring the RTI application to West Zone, when the said area had already been transferred to Rohini Zone in May, 2012. The PIOs from West Zone have informed the appellant, time and again, that no information is available with them.
In view of the above, the Commission imposes a penalty of Rs 10,000 (Rupees ten thousand only) u/s 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. on Shri S.K. Vashisht, for violating of the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. This amount will be deducted from his salary in two equal instalments @ Rs. 5000/- per month starting from June, 2015. The total amount of Rs. 10,000/- will be remitted by September, 2015. The Superintendent Engineer, FAA/NZ, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, is directed to recover the total amount of Rs. 10,000/- from the salary of Shri S.K. Vashisht and remit the same, latest by 30th September, 2015, through a Demand Draft or a Banker’s Cheque in the name of Pay & Accounts Officer, CAT, payable at New Delhi and send the same to Shri Shanti Priye Beck, Joint Secretary (Admn.), Central Information Commission, Room No. 302, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, New Delhi – 110066. Further, the FAA is directed to send a copy of this order to the concerned Drawing & Disbursement Officer, under intimation to the Commission, for necessary action.
Citation: Shri Nahar Singh v. Delhi Municipal Corporation in F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/000519