Appellant claimed illegal removal from employment in the Maharaja Agarsain Public School - PIO made all possible efforts to procure the necessary information from the School & the actual grievance of the appellant was redressed - Penal proceedings dropped
Show Cause Decision
I. Background of the case:
Vide RTI application dated 20.08.2016, the appellant sought the following information:-
1. Copies of Annual Returns pertaining to Maharaja Agarsain Public School, Narela, Delhi- 110040 including its Primary Wing for the years 1999-2000 to 2015-16 along with staff statement (teaching & non teaching staff with designation, date since when employed, pay scales/salary given to them).
2. Whether staff employed in the School(teaching and non teaching) are covered under the Provident Fund Act and ESI facilities and if they are, a copy of the details of PF Accounts & ESI card issued to each employee from the year 1999-2000 to 2015-16.
3. Entire copy of file pertaining to Maharaja Agarsain Public School, Narela, Delhi-40 run by Maharaja Agarsain Education Society, Delhi40
4. Any other documents supplied by the school/ management of Maharaja Agarsain Public School may also be provided.
The CPIO replied on 23.09.2016 enclosing reply furnished by Maharaja Agarsain Public School who replied by his letter that information pertaining to points 1 to 4, related to a case which is subjudice with the High Court.
Dissatisfied with response received from CPIO, the appellant filed first appeal. The FAA vide letter dated 27.10.2016 upheld the CPIO’s reply. Feeling aggrieved as not received information, the appellant approached the Commission
II. Facts emerging during hearing:
Both parties are present. The appellant submits that she was employed in the school and was removed illegally. Challenging this wrongful and illegal act of the Respondent School authorities, she approached the High court and subsequently the Delhi Schools Tribunal. However matter is still pending adjudication. The appellant emphasized that she sought information against points 1 and 2 specifically. Respondent states that School was controlled by DDE, Zone and hence all the information as sought by the appellant was within the control and jurisdiction of the DDE, Zone. The DDE, Zone present during the hearing submitted that Show Cause has been issued to the School.
After hearing the submissions of the parties and perusal of records of the case, the Commission vide order dated 05.07.2017, held as follows:
“…the Commission is of the considered opinion that though the Department of Education is amply empowered under provisions of the DSEAR Act, to obtain the information from the School concerned, the same has not been done so far. The DDE of the concerned Zone is directed by the Commission to obtain the necessary information from the actual custodian of information and provide the same to the appellant within two weeks of receipt of this order. The DDE, Zone shall also submit an Explanation before the Commission within a week of receipt of this order, for the inaction and non furnishing of information so far and why no penal action should be taken against him for the same.
III. Pursuant to the above directions, the following chronological sequence of events took place:
11.01.2018 - The DDE, Dte. Of education vide Letter/Reply/Explanation dated 11.01.2018 submitted a Paragraph-wise Reply explaining that he had joined office as DDE only on 22.02.2017:
04.07.2017 – Show Cause Notice was issued to the School by Dte. Of Education
05.07.2017 -- CIC hearing took place
05.07.2017 -- Notice/warning issued to the School intimating Action for Withdrawal of Recognition
08.08.2017 – By a letter dated 08.08.2017, the School viz. Maharaja Agarsain Public School informed the DDE, Dte. Of Education claiming that they are not a public authority
11.08.2017 – The aforesaid letter dated 08.08.2017 from the School was marked by the DDE, Sh. Mallikarjuna to the Commission with covering letter dated 11.08.2017.
14.09.2017-- School submitted some information to DDE, Dte. Of Education which include:
1. Audited accounts of the School for the year 2009-2017,
2. Staff statement of Teaching and Non teaching staff including their designations, date of joining, scale of pay etc. during 2009-17
3. Enrollment of students during 2009-17
4. Fees schedule during 2009-17
5. Salary paid to staff before 7th to 10th of every month during 2009-17
6. Pattern of fees concession/scholarship, EWS Freeship admission
The School further informed the DDE, that information pertaining to 1999 to 2000 could not be furnished since the same was either lost or destroyed by the then Managing Committee.
10.11.2017—The DDE, sent a letter to the PIO, DNWA referring to the letter of denial(dated 11.08.2017) & expressing his regrets that information sought being very old, vast & time consuming. Hence School took time in submission
IV. The Commission issued a Notice of Non Compliance upon the DDE, Dte. Of education on 26.12.2017 for not complying with specific directions pronounced vide order dated 05.07.2017 of the Commission.
V. In response to the Non Compliance Notice dated 26.12.2017, the DDE, Dte. Of Education submitted a response dated 11.01.2018 narrating that:
03.01.2018 --- The same set of information (running into 143 pages) as furnished by the letter dated 14.09.2017, from the School to the DDE, was now furnished to the appellant by the School
05.01.2018 --- School submitted information to DDE, Dte. Of Education which include:
1. Annual return from 2006 to 2017, with staff statement,
2. PF and ESI facility provided to the staff
3. Memorandum of Association etc.
11.01.2018 --- Information as received by the DDE, Dte. Of Education vide the aforementioned letter dated 05.01.2018, was forwarded to the appellant and ran into 899 pages of information.
VI. Upon perusal of the aforesaid documents received from the Respondent DDE, Directorate of Education, the following discrepancies/irregularities were noted:
1. The DDE received information from the School on 14.09.2017, however, the said information was furnished to the appellant only on 03.01.2018, after lapse of three months. This delay of three months has not been explained.
2. The information was thus provided to the appellant on 03.01.2018, notably upon issuance of the Show Cause Notice dated 26.12.2017 from the Commission.
3. The 10.11.2017 letter referred by the DDE was addressed to PIO/DNWANo enclosure was found on record with the said letter.
VII. In view of the aforesaid discrepancies noted, Show Cause Notice was issued by the Commission on 13.06.2018 against the PIO/DDE- Sh. Mallikarjun.
VIII. In response to the Show Cause Notice dated 13.06.2018, issued by the Commission, the Noticee has submitted a Reply dated 27.06.2018, relevant excerpts whereof are as follows:
“It is most respectfully submitted that, undersigned had taken all the necessary steps in compliance of CIC order dated 5/7/2017. The undersigned has submitted parawise reply in respect of complaint dated 31/8/2017 vide RTI ID No. 6857 dated 20/8/2016 through PIO vide letter no. F.10/RTI/DNW-A/2017- 18/149-151 dated 16/1/2018 to the Hon’ble CIC.
Further, the undersigned had sent information to Ms. Renu Jain, appellant by the letters sent through speed post with regard to RTI application of Ms. Renu Jain appellant, vide letter dated 10/11/2017, 3/1/2018 and 11/2018 and 11/1/2018.
In this regard it is most respectfully submitted that the undersigned has to abide by the rules of RTI act 2005, respects the order of Hon’ble CIC and has followed the directions of Hon’ble CIC in letter and spirit and has never denied to provide information to the applicant. In addition to above, it is worth to mention here that Ms. Renu Jain has been satisfied with the reply provided to her in case of her RTI No. 6837 dated 20/8/16 and she has joined Maharaja Agarsain School on 26/6/2018.”
Perusal of the aforementioned Reply dated 27.06.2018 reveals that Noticee has demonstrated that he took the possible measures to ensure dissemination of information to the appellant. It is noted that endeavours of the Noticee has not only aided in supply of information to the appellant, but also led to the appellant joining back the School. The appellant has informed this Commission by a hand written note that she is satisfied with the information received and has joined back in the School on 26.06.2018.
Though there is an admitted delay in dissemination of information, the PIO/DDE has tendered unconditional apology for the said delay. He has explained that upon joining the post on 22.02.2017, he has made all possible efforts to procure the necessary information from the School, which is the actual custodian of information. He has further stated that apart from providing the information to the appellant, the actual grievance of the appellant has also been redressed and she has joined back her School.
Considering that germane issue which gave rise to the instant case, has been resolved alongwith supply of information, the Commission is of the considered opinion that the Noticee may be exonerated of the penal proceedings. Show Cause proceedings against Dr. Mallikarjun are accordingly dropped and he is advised to deal with RTI matters with utmost prudence and necessary sensitivity in future.
In view of the above discussion, the case is closed and file is directed to be consigned to the Record Room.
Citation: Renu Jain v. Department of Education Dr. Mallikarjun K S - DDE Mr. V.K. Kajal -PIO in F. No. CIC/DIRED/A/2017/188568, Date of Decision: 23.07.2018