The basis of ouster from Navy was sought by a trainee - CIC issued an advisory to the Chief of the Naval Staff u/s 25(5) to take appropriate steps for developing better coordination amongst different CPIOs for timely disposal of RTI applications
The complainant was a trainee of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) and had sought documents on the basis of which he was ousted from service on medical grounds from this Naval Academy.
Grounds for complaint
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Complainant : Absent
Respondent : CPIO, Cdr. U.N. Chand.
The respondent handed over a written submission during the hearing stating that the information pertained to the Headquarters, Southern Naval Command. The said RTI application was transferred to PIO (SNC) by PIO (Navy). Subsequently PIO (SNC) had replied to the applicant on 08.01.15. He further submitted that in respect of queries 2(a) & (b) of the said RTI application, since the medical documents had been forwarded to the office of the Director General Medical Services (Navy), the applicant was requested to approach PIO/IHQ MoD (N) for the same. Thereafter, based on the comments of the professional directorate, PIO (Navy) made a reply to the applicant on 06.02.16, wherein he was requested to reimburse the necessary photocopying charges. Subsequently, the applicant had paid the amount due and copies of the documents sought for by the applicant in the said RTI application were provided to him by the PIO (N).
He also submitted that the complaint was filed on 30.12.14 and the information as applicable under the RTI Act was provided to him.
On perusal of records including the submitted copies of the reply, the Commission found that requisite information was already provided to the applicant. However, the fact remains that the information were not provided within the stipulated time period. The respondent CPIO is cautioned to be careful in future, while dealing with RTI applications. The applicant receiving complete information after a gap of more than 2 years is condemnable. The holder of the information was a different CPIO, but within the same public authority. The RTI application was transferred u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act. The CPIO in the present case could have exercised the power conferred u/s 5(4) of the RTI Act and collected the requisite information from different PIOs and provided to the applicant. This would have saved everybody’s time and resources. Instead the CPIO chose to transfer the RTI application u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act, and shifted the responsibility, to other PIOs, which resulted in inordinate delay of more than 2 years in providing final consolidated reply to the applicant. The delayed furnishing of information defeated the very purpose of the RTI Act in the present case.
An advisory is issued to the Chief of the Naval Staff u/s 25(5) of the RTI Act, to take appropriate steps for developing better coordination amongst different CPIOs for timely disposal of RTI applications.
The CPIO is advised to make every effort to see that such unnecessary delay is not caused to information seekers in the furnishing of information under the RTI Act in future.
With the above observation, the complaint is disposed of.
Citation: Avinash v. M/o Defence, Commander- Art- Arms, Directorate Of Personnel Service, IHQ (Navy), File No : CIC/CC/C/2015/900072-AB