Appellant desired to see the file notings & correspondence regarding action taken on the complaint filed by him - CIC: convey a gist of the findings regarding the complaint & the number and rank of officials, if any, against whom action is contemplated
Though registered as a complaint, we are treating this matter as an appeal because in his communication dated 16.7.2013 to the Commission, the Appellant had described it as ‘complaint / appeal’ without citing any particular section of the RTI Act
2. This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 9.3.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking certified photocopies of notings and correspondence on the files regarding action on complaints filed by him on 19.11.2012 and 29.12.2012 to Shri Sanjiv Mittal, Joint Secretary, GOI and Director, ASI, Bhopal respectively. The CPIO of Anthropological Survey of India forwarded the query regarding the complaint filed to the Joint Secretary, GOI, to the Ministry of Culture vide his letter dated 8.5.2013 and endorsed a copy of this letter to the Appellant. The Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 25.5.2013. Not having heard from the FAA, he approached the CIC in second appeal on 16.7.2013.
3. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Appellant stated that he has not been provided the information sought by him. He prayed for direction by the Commission to the Respondents to provide the information to him. The Respondents submitted that they had written on 16.7.2013 and 16.8.2013 to the Appellant, stating that since the matter was under investigation, the information sought by him was being denied under Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act. The Appellant stated that he did not receive the above letters from the Respondents. Accordingly, the CPIO is directed to forward a copy each of his letters date 16.7.2013 and 16.8.2013 to the Appellant, within seven days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. The Respondents further submitted that the complaint in question, sent to both the authorities by the appellant, was regarding corruption in the staff attached to Anthropological Survey of India in Port Blair. In response to our query, the Respondents confirmed that investigation is now over.
4. We have considered the submissions made by both the parties before us. The Appellant wishes to see the file notings and correspondence regarding action taken on the complaint filed by him. We note that these notings and correspondence may contain information regarding vigilance action against third party employees of the Respondents. In this context, we also note the following observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commissioner and Ors. :“ We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”
5. Taking into account the above observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the RTI request of the Appellant, we direct the CPIO to convey to the Appellant a gist of the findings of the Respondents in regard to the complaint filed by him and the number and rank of officials, if any, against whom action is contemplated / underway on the basis of the enquiry conducted on his complaint. The CPIO is further directed to convey the above information to the Appellant, within thirty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
6. With the above directions and observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Tapan Kumar Das v. Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture in File No. CIC/BS/C/2013/000126/SH