For an application of October 7, the PIO could not have made an offer of inspection on Oct 4 – CIC: appellant had sought personal information about Assistant Registrar which PIO could have denied as it is exempt - penalty of Rs.1,000 imposed
For an application of October 7, the PIO could not have made an offer of inspection on Oct 4 - PIO explained that he offered consolidated inspection in respect of two RTI applications one of which was received in the past - CIC: the appellant had sought personal information about the Assistant Registrar which he was not entitled to this information as per law - PIO was well within his rights to have denied personal information - the nature of queries raised cannot be ignored - penalty of Rs. 1,000/-
This is in continuation of order dated 21.6.2013 passed by a Coordinate Bench of this Commission in which it has been mentioned that Shri Victor James, CPIO “failed to furnish any reply to the appellant in respect of his RTI application dated 7.10.2012----------”. Notice was issued to Shri James to show cause why penalty should not be imposed on him for not responding to the RTI application. As scheduled, the matter is heard today dated 26.08.2013. The appellant and Shri Victor James, CPIO, are present before the Commission. Shri James submits that he had offered inspection of the relevant records to the appellant on 17.11.2011 vide his letter of 4.10.2011.
2. To this, the appellant would respond that when his RTI application is of 7.10.2011, the CPIO could not have made an offer of inspection three days earlier i.e. on 4.10.2011. This discrepancy is attempted to be explained by Shri James on the basis of his file noting dated 24.10.2011 vide which inspection on 17.11.2011 was offered. It is his say that by that time he had received another RTI application from the same appellant and had offered consolidated inspection in respect of both RTI applications on 17.11.2011 through his noting of 14.10.2011.
3. I am not satisfied with the explanation given by Shri Victor James. Suffice to say that he could not have offered inspection of relevant records on 4.10.2011 when the RTI application itself was of 7.10.2011. However, perusal of the RTI application in-question indicates that the appellant had sought personal information about Shri S.K. Verma, Assistant Registrar, in most of the paras. He was not entitled to this information as per law. The CPIO was well within his rights to have denied personal information regarding Shri Verma to the appellant but he did not do so for the reasons best known to him. In the premises, it would not be correct on my part to totally ignore the nature of queries raised by the appellant. On balance, it would suffice if a penalty of Rs.1,000/- (Rupees one thousand) is imposed on the CPIO. Shri James Victor would remit an amount of Rs. 1,000/- by demand draft or a banker’s cheque in the name of the Pay & Accounts Officer, CAT, payable at New Delhi and send the same to Shri Pankaj K.P. Shreyaskar, Director and Joint Registrar of the Central Information Commission, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, New Delhi.
4. This order may be complied with in 05 weeks.
(M.L. Sharma )
Citation: R.K. Jain v. Department of Revenue in File No.CIC/SS/A/2012/001339