Appellant: Information about names & designations of the PIO/Nodal PIO at MoEF were delayed & are not updated on the website - PIO: There are 100 PIOs for different divisions - CIC: show cause notice to PIO and FAA for imposing penalty
Appellant requested the Commission to pass strictures for non- furnishing information in a time bound manner, impose penalty on the PIO and award compensation to him stating that he has sought names and designations of the PIO/Nodal PIO at MoEF. He also stated that said information is supposed to be available on the Public domain, but the same is not updated in the website. His first appeal was also replied by the PIO instead of FAA - PIO submitted that he is only functioning as Nodal PIO and there are about 100 PIOs for different divisions of the Ministry. It is a difficult task for him to coordinate with them, collect the information on various RTI applications. Most of the PIOs have furnished the hard copy but failed to upload the same in their website – CIC: provide the information; recommended the higher authorities to ensure that sufficient supporting staff and necessary infrastructure is provided to the officers dealing with the RTI Act and ensure that the DOPT guidelines with respect to RTI are implemented
2. The appellant through his RTI application sought information on the names and designations of the CPIO/Nodal CPIO/PIO since 2007 As there is no sufficient information from the PIO and on first appeal, he approached the Commission in second appeal.
Proceedings Before the Commission:
3. Both the parties made their submissions. The appellant submitted that he has not been supplied with the complete information by the CPIO. The said information is supposed to be available on the Public domain, but the same is not updated in the website by the respondent authority. His information is delayed by 81 days. When he has made the first appeal, the CPIO himself replied to that appeal, instead of following the procedure for hearing the first appeal by the FAA. He therefore, requested the Commission to pass strictures for furnishing information in a time bound manner, impose penalty on the CPIO and award compensation of Rs. 5,000/ to the appellant.
4. The CPIO S. Mahapatra submitted that he is only functioning as Nodal CPIO in addition to his other duties and there are about 100 CPIOs for different divisions of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It is a difficult task for him to coordinate with the 100 CPIOs and collect the information on various RTI applications received by the Ministry. It is the collective responsibility of all the CPIOs of the Ministry to see that the official website is updated, as far as the information pertaining to their division is concerned. Most of the CPIOs, having furnished the hard copy to the applicant, neglect to upload the same in their website. Therefore, the CPIO expressed his limitations/helplessness with regard to dealing with the RTI applications.
5. The Commission having heard the submissions and having perused the record thoroughly, directs the CPIO to provide the information to the appellant upto March, 2015 on the points sought by him in his RTI application dated 5-5-2014 within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission also recommends the higher authorities to ensure that sufficient supporting staff and necessary infrastructure is provided to the officers dealing with the RTI Act and also ensure that the DOPT guidelines with respect to RTI are implemented in their Ministry.
6. The Commission also directs the CPIO and the FAA to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed on them for not furnishing complete information to the appellant and for giving an illegal order and not giving opportunity to the appellant for hearing first appeal. Their explanation should reach the Commission within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order.
7. The Commission orders accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: R.K. Jain vs. Min of Environment and Forests, GOI in Case No. CIC/SA/A/2014/001502