Appellant: Her first appeal was disposed of by the FAA without providing her an opportunity of being heard - CIC counseled the FAA of the CIC to provide the appellants, as far as possible, an opportunity of hearing before deciding the appeals
O R D E R
1. Ms. Rajani Devi filed three identical second appeals in case Nos. CIC/SB/A/2016/001178, CIC/SB/A/2016/001297 & CIC/SB/A/001307 in respect of the RTI application dated 09.05.2016. All the three appeals are being clubbed and disposed of by this Order.
2. The appellant filed an application dated 09.05.2016 under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Central Information Commission (CIC) seeking information on the action taken by the Commission on letter No. F.11/5/2013-IR dated 02.09.2016 of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) regarding her petition dated 16.08.2013.
3. The appellant filed three second appeals before the Commission on the grounds that the information sought has not been provided to her and requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide complete information to her.
4. Shri Ashok Kumar, representative of the appellant attended the hearing through video conferencing. The respondent Shri S.P. Beck, Joint Secretary (Admin), CIC was present in person.
5. The appellant submitted that she had sought information pertaining to the action taken by the Commission on letter No. F.11/5/2013-IR dated 02.09.2016 of DoPT regarding her petition dated 16.08.2013. However, no satisfactory information has been provided to her in this regard. The appellant further submitted that the FAA has disposed of her first appeal without providing her an opportunity of being heard.
6. The respondent submitted that the appellant was informed vide letter dated 31.05.2016 that the letter of DoPT dated 02.09.2016 was diarized in the Dak Section, CIC on 06.09.2013 and was forwarded for further action to Director(P) on 09.09.2013. The respondent further submitted that the FAA vide order dated 27.06.2016 had observed that the information sought by the appellant does not fall within the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act. Nonetheless, the CPIO had provided information to the extent available to the appellant.
7. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that there are no grounds to interfere with the order of the FAA dated 27.06.2016.
8. The Commission with regards to the appellant’s grievance that her first appeal was disposed of by the FAA without providing her an opportunity of being heard, observes that the CIC vide order no. CIC/BS/A/2013/002675/6267 dated 30.10.2014 has held that:-
“As regards the appellant’s submission that his 1st appeal was not decided by the FAA and he was also denied an opportunity of hearing, it is needless to say that deciding an appeal after rendering an opportunity of hearing to the parties is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence. The FAA should invariably decided an appeal and as far as possible also give the appellant including the third party, if any, an opportunity of hearing specially if he so requests, without forgetting that the essence of RTI Act is to provide complete, correct and timely information to the appellant.”
In view of the above, the Commission would like to counsel the FAA, CIC, to provide the appellants, as far as possible, an opportunity of hearing before deciding the appeals.
9. With the above observations, all three appeals are disposed of.
10. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Ms. Rajani Devi v. CPIO, Central Information Commission in Decision No. CIC/SB/A/2016/001178, Decision No. CIC/SB/A/2016/001297, Decision No. CIC/SB/A/2016/001307, Dated 31.08.2017