Can compensation be awarded for untraceable records?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India seeking details in respect of the transfer orders issued against the appellant. The Public Information Officers (PIO) informed the appellant that no such information is available with the Public Authority.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the PIO stated that they could not provide a copy of the request letter submitted by the appellant requesting for transfer to Meerut as the matter was six years old and the letter could not be traced. The PIO confirmed that normally a copy of the request letter for transfer by the employee is placed in the personal file of the employee and there was no such copy of the request letter from the appellant requesting for transfer to Meerut in his personal file. The appellant submitted that he had never submitted any request letter for transfer to Meerut. The appellant submitted that the Senior Divisional Manager had signed his transfer orders and he was not the competent authority to sign the same. The PIO confirmed the averments of the appellant as being correct and submitted that only in exceptional cases the senior divisional manager would have signed the transfer order of an employee of the rank held by the appellant. The PIO further stated that now the Corporation has computerized the process and transfer requests are taken online and recorded electronically in the P form.
View of CIC
The Commission stated that it was normal practice to place a copy of the transfer request in the personal file of the employee making such request. The Commission observed that no credible explanation was provided by the PIO for not being able to locate a copy of transfer request letter in the personal file of the appellant. The Commission directed the PIO to put in extra effort to locate the copy of the said request letter and provide the same to the appellant, in case the PIO could not provide the appellant with the attested copy of the request letter, the public authority will pay compensation of Rs. 5000 to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. Ashok Kumar v. LIC of India in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2012/000046
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/716
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