Appellant requested the CIC to impose a penalty on the PIO & FAA for furnishing the information after 38 days - CIC: Delay because of ascertaining the bonafide of the RTI applicant as the bank is under obligation to maintain secrecy about its customers
1. The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Syndicate Bank, Camp Branch, Pune seeking a certified copy of cheque No. 29000877114 which he had issued to the bank for RTGS on 13.12.2013.
2. The appellant filed a second appeal before the Commission on the grounds that the CPIO provided information after 38 days against the statutory time of 30 days provided under the RTI Act, 2005. The appellant alleged that the CPIO ante-dated the reply and the same was dispatched on 08.02.2017. The appellant requested the Commission to impose a penalty of Rs. 2,000/- on the CPIO and the FAA jointly and severally under Section 20 of the RTI Act for furnishing the information after 38 days.
3. The appellant was not present despite notice. The respondent Shri R. Kannan, DGM, Syndicate Bank, Camp Branch, Pune attended the hearing through video conferencing.
4. The respondent submitted that the appellant had requested a certified copy of the cheque bearing No. 29000877114. However, since there was a difference in the signature on the cheque and the signature on the RTI application, the appellant was requested vide letter dated 19.01.2017 to submit his latest KYC details to verify that the RTI application was submitted by the account holder. Subsequently, on receipt of the appellant’s letter dated 24.01.2017, in response to the letter dated 19.01.2017, a certified true copy of the cheque bearing number 29000877114 was furnished to the appellant vide letter dated 02.02.2017.
5. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of the respondent and perusing the records, observes that the information sought was furnished to the appellant vide letter dated 02.02.2017 after 38 days, against the statutory period of 30 days as prescribed under the RTI Act. However, the delay was on account of the time involved in ascertaining the bonafide of the RTI applicant as the bank is under obligation to maintain secrecy about its customers. Hence, it cannot be said that information was malafidely delayed by the respondent. Thus, in the absence of any malafide intention, it would not be appropriate to initiate any action for imposition of penalty on the CPIO. 6. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Ram Jivan Dixit v. Syndicate Bank in CIC/SYNDB/A/2017/122435, dated 09.07.2018