Appellant: Copy of the file regarding surrender of ownership of land was not furnished – CIC: Neither RTI nor public record can recognize missing of file; If such important records are missing, it will be difficult to ascertain & defend the right of owner
1. The complainant is present along with Mr. K.V.S. Gupta, Advocate. None represents Public authority.
2. The Complainant filed this complaint for noncompliance of CIC order CIC/AD/A/2012/001309 dated 4.9.2012 wherein the PIO was directed to furnish a reply to the complainant within one week, regarding refusal of the appellant’s RTI application dated 1812012. He should also invariably indicate to the appellant the name and address of the 1st Appellate Authority, before whom the appellant can file first appeal, if any.
3. On 30.9.2014 ordered as under:
“Commission recommends the Public Authority to initiate the disciplinary proceedings against the PIO functioning during 2012 and the present PIO for their reckless response to RTI application and negligence in complying with the orders of CIC/FAA. The Commission directs Mr. Satish Chand, the then PIO/SDM to show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed for noncompliance of the CIC order dt. 4122012. The Commission also directs the subsequent PIO Mr. Satinder Jain and the present PIO Mr. Munish Jain to show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed for noncompliance of the CIC order and the three FAA orders dated 19122012, 2812013 and 3012013. The explanations of the three PIOs should reach the Commission within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order.”
4. In response to show cause, on 01.12.2014 Mr. Manish Jain, SDM submitted his explanation. He says that all the requisite information had been provided to the appellant. His claim for providing requisite information was disputed by the appellant. Mr. Manish Jain had instructed his subordinate staff to trace the file, but no action was yet. He informed the appellant on 01.12.2014 that lodging of FIR is under active consideration. He had not informed about lodging of FIR or not given the certified copy of FIR. Regarding reconstruction of the file and providing necessary information to the appellant, no progress has been noticed as yet.
5. On 20.4.2015, the Commission directs the respondent authority to trace the missing file or reconstruct the record and submit an action taken report, within 45 days of receipt of this Order. The present case is adjourned and penalty proceedings to continue.
Proceedings before the Commission:
6. The appellant was asking about order dated 06.04.2010 passed by Revenue Assistant/SDM, Civil Line in the case of Ramphal & others vs. Gram Sabha Kamalpur Majra, Burari. The appellant says his father was joint bhoomidar with Mr. Ramphal. He alleged that Revenue Authorities put forward the files by claiming that he surrendered the position of bhoomidar on 03.06.1977 in favour of Mr. Ramphal. The appellant was seeking certified copy of the same which was not furnished. Appellant needs to cross examine the witness before the Revenue Court where Ramphal is claiming as absolute owner. Since 2012, January the appellant is waiting for the information.
7. Commission observed that missing of file is only means, repeatedly put forward to deny the information by the respondent authority. Neither RTI nor public record can recognize missing of file. If such important orders or records of land revenue are missing it will be difficult to ascertain and defend the right of ownership of the land. Missing of file in the Revenue office will have a very serious impact not only on land disputes but also of land order issues. The appellant says he needs this information to counter the contention made by Mr. Ramphal and others making adverse claim against him. The appellant has stopped it in the public interest and enforcing his right.
8. The Commission finds that the respondent authority neither lodging FIR nor provided copy of information sought to the appellant inspite of several show causes. The explanation of Mr. Manish Jain is not satisfactory with regard to lodging of FIR and construction of alternative file, which has having the impact on the claim of the applicant over the lost of file. The Commission finds it is a fit case to impose maximum penalty to Mr. Manish Jain.
9. The Commission posted this case today to hear again, but Mr. Manish Jain was absent. The Commission concludes that Mr. Manish Jain did not comply with the order of Commission issued on 30.09.2014. The Commission imposes penalty of Rs. 25,000/on Mr. Manish Jain.
10. Mr. Sham Chand, Ex.PIO has submitted explanation to the show cause notice dated 19.02.2014. He stated that he made efforts to trace the file, but he could not trace it. He also mentioned that he did his best to lodge FIR, but FIR was not lodged. He did not explain whether lodging of FIR was not done before he relinquished charge of SDM (CL) before his retirement on 31.10.2014. FAA ordered him on 19.12.2012 to trace the file, if file not traceable to lodge FIR. The order was before him since 19.12.2012 to 31.10.2014.
11. Again on 28.01.2013 FAA issued another order as under :– a. Appeal taken up. Present Sh. Harish Kumar Tyagi, appellant and Sh. Ramesh Chand, KGO on behalf of PIO/SDM (C.L.). b. On 19.12.12 APIO was directed to trace out the file bearing No. 540/RA/Civil Lines/83/245 under which order dated 06.04.10 had been passed by the then RA/SDM (C.L.) Sh. Nitya Nand. c. In compliance of the said order Sh. Ramesh Chand, KGO submitted a copy of letter dated 24.01.13 of SDM (C.L.) written to Chowki Incharge, Tis Hazari, Delhi. SDM (CL) has taken action on the order dated 19.12.12 very late. It shows his casual approach in dealing with RTI matters. He is, therefore, warned to be more careful in future and further directed to write to SHO, Subzi Mandi regarding filing of FIR. Compliance be submitted within 15 days i.e. before 12.2.13. Appeal adjourned, to come up on 18.02.13 at 3.00 P.M.
12. He was also warned to be careful by FAA, but he did not do anything till 31.10.2014. The Commission finds his explanation is not satisfactory, though Commission considers his explanation with sympathy that he is retired officer, the fact is that he was having ample of time before him to at least to file FIR and to do some exercise to develop/reconstruct an alternative file, which was not done. Hence, the Commission finds this is also a fit case to impose maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/against him.
13. The appellant’s land is about 20 bighas and 20 vishas, its cost is around Rs. 100 crore. The record was lost from their Revenue Trial Court. Missing of record, as such was an incident or strategy. Appellant expected it is to be strategy. If really accident nothing is proven by SDM from inquiring first and quick decision including lodging FIR and reconstruction. Keeping in view the high value of the land, and circumstances, the Commission notices two successive PIOs who are SDM(RDM), who executed powers were not performing their duties both as SDM and also as PIO.
14. The Appellate Authority is directed to recover the amount of Rs. 25,000/from the salary payable to Mr. Manish Jain and Mr. Sham Chand (to be informed to concerned Pension Department for recovery) by way of Demand Draft drawn in favour of ‘PAO CAT’ in 5 equal monthly instalments. The first instalment should reach the Commission by 30.09.2015 and the last instalment should reach by 30.02.2016. The Demand Draft should be sent to Shri S. P. Beck, Joint Secretary & Addl. Registrar, Room No. 302, Central Information Commission, BWing, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi 110 066.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Shri Harish Kumar Tyagi v. Sub Divisional Magistrate (Civil Lines), GNCTD in File No.CIC/AD/C/2013/001003SA