Appellant used two names, viz. Netrapal Sharma & Netrapal Shastri in various documents; In response to query, the appellant stated that Shastri is his degree - CIC cautioned him to use the same name in all the documents as per his identity documents
Date of decision : 3rd February 2016
These files contain appeals in respect of the RTI applications dated 12.3.2014, 19.3.2014 and 2.9.2014 filed by the Appellant seeking information in the context of the disciplinary action taken against him, action taken on certain letters written by him to the Respondents and some issues concerning the bank. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, he has approached the CIC in second appeals in all the three cases.
2. With regard to the RTI application dated 12.3.2014 (File No. 2154), the Appellant stated that action was taken against him by the bank on ground of some false allegations and the information sought in the application has not been provided to him. The Respondents stated that the CPIO responded on 11.4.2014 and provided the information that was available in the form of documents. However, in a number of queries, the Appellant had sought information regarding the basis of the disciplinary action taken against him and the CPIO is not expected to offer explanations / opinions on such matters.
3. In regard to the RTI application dated 19.3.2014 (File No. 2155), the Appellant stated that he had sought file notings in respect of disposal of twenty seven letters exchanged by him with the Respondents. However, notings have been provided only in two cases and not in the remaining twenty five cases. He alleged that the Respondents have deliberately destroyed the remaining notings. The Respondents stated that office notings were prepared to respond to only two of the twenty seven letters mentioned by the Appellant. In the remaining cases, no notings were recorded and the letter was either directly responded to or responded to in keeping with the instructions from the higher authorities. Having considered the submissions of both the parties, we see no ground to doubt the statement of the Respondents that there were no notings prepared in the case of twenty five letters.
4. Regarding the RTI application dated 2.9.2014 (File No. 3144), the Appellant stated that he had raised the issue of serious irregularities in the bank. However, distorted and misleading information was provided to him. He prayed that the issues raised by him be handed over to the CBI for investigation. The Respondents stated that all the available information was provided by the CPIO. In response to our query, they further submitted that the Appellant was an employee of the bank and his services were terminated in 2013 as a result of disciplinary action. He has filed a writ petition in the High Court, challenging the termination of his service. He has been filing repeated RTI applications in his own name and in the names of others. In the above context, we note that the Commission has no authority to entrust matters for investigation to the CBI. In case the Appellant believes that he has some incriminating material against the bank in his possession, he is at liberty to approach an appropriate agency in this regard.
5. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties and note the following observations made by us in our order No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000657 dated 16.3.2015, disposing of an appeal of the Appellant’s wife, Smt. Parvati Sharma, who had been represented by the Appellant during the hearing on the above matter:“............ we note that during 2014, we considered six appeals and one complaint filed by Smt. Parvati Sharma, Shri Gopi Chand Sharma and Shri Dhanesh Chand Sharma all of whom were represented during the hearings by Shri Netrapal Sharma. It is seen from the Commission’s records that the above individuals, together with Shri Netrapal Sharma, have filed thirty four appeals and complaints before the Commission. The representative of the Appellant stated that regardless of the number of applications filed by him and the other persons mentioned above, the information sought ought to be provided. In the above context, we note the following observations made by the Supreme Court in Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors.
“37. The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under clause (b) of section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption. But in regard to other information,(that is information other than those enumerated in section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; and (c) of the Act), equal importance and emphasis are given to other public interests (like confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary relationships, efficient operation of governments, etc.). Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
6. Taking into account the totality of the facts placed before us, we find no substance in these three appeals and these are dismissed.
7. We also note that in the matters before us, the Appellant has used two names, viz. Shri Netrapal Sharma and Shri Netrapal Shastri in various documents. In response to our query, he stated that Shastri is his degree. However, we would caution him to use the same name in all the documents, based on the name given in his identity documents.
8. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Dr. Netrapal Sharma v. Oriental Bank of Commerce in File No. CIC/SH/A/2015/002154 File No. CIC/SH/A/2015/002155 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/003144