Can the departmental enquiry be questioned under RTI?
The appellant had sought certain information from Northern Railway under RTI. Not receiving a proper response from the Public Authority he filed a second appeal with Central Information Commission (CIC) stating that only partial information had been given and that too with a delay. The Public Information Officer (PIO) submitted that part information had been furnished with the orders of the First Appellate Authority (FAA) and part was transferred to the PIO, Jodhpur. The Commission directed the PIO, Jodhpur to furnish rest of the information. The Commission also observed that the delay happened because the PIO failed to put up the file to the FAA in time and thus the FAA could not dispose the appeal timely. The Commission issued a show cause notice to the PIO as to why a penalty should not be imposed upon him for seemingly obstructing the supply of information by not putting up the file in time to the FAA. The Commission also directed that the amount collected from the appellant towards supply of information may be refunded to him because there had been a delay in supplying the information.
The appellant later filed a complaint with the CIC stating that the information, which was said to have been enclosed with the order of the FAA, was actually not enclosed with the said order. The respondents handed over the relevant copies of documents to the appellant at the hearing. The appellant claimed that he has been wrongly penalised by the public authority, whereas the other co-accused in the case has been exonerated from the charges.
View of CIC
The CIC offered the inspection of relevant records which was refused by the appellant who continued to express his unhappiness with the decision of the public authority to penalise him. The CIC noted that the desired information had been provided to the appellant who is aggrieved with the decision of the public authority to penalise him under a separate departmental proceeding. The Commission held that the decision cannot be questioned under the RTI Act and therefore, there shall be no further disclosure obligation on the respondents. The Commission further noted that the failure of the FAA to dispose of the first appeal on account of non- submission of file to him by the PIO led to multiple proceedings in the matter, but the intentions of the PIO were not malafide thus, no penalty need to be imposed on the PIO. However, under section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; the Commission awarded compensation of Rs. 2000/- to the appellant for the detriment he suffered due to the negligence of the officials of the public authority.
Citation: Mr. Kailash Prasad v. Northern Railway Office of the Divisional Railway Manager in File No. CIC/AD/C/2012/000442
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/327
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission