Can a letter be issued from a file without a file noting?
The appellant cited some 10 different letters issued by the office of the AG and filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Accountant General (AG) (Commercial & Receipt Audit) seeking the photocopies of the file notings leading up to the issue of such letters. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that no file noting was available concerning any of these letters.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant pointed out that if there was no file noting leading to the issue of any of these letters it would be rather surprising because all these letters had been cited in the charge-sheet issued to him.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that in all government offices, official communications are issued with the approval of the competent authority. In order to get the approval of the competent authority, noting is prepared in file at various stages. Therefore, if such letters have been issued by the office, it is obvious that there must be relevant files with file noting. The Commission directed the PIO to provide the photocopies of all file noting from all the relevant files. The Commission further held that the original response of the PIO was misleading and wrong on the face of it. Under section 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the RTI Act the CIC issued a show-cause notice to show as to why penalty should not imposed on him for not providing the right information.
Citation: Mr. K K Kesarwani v. Accountant General in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000674
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/792
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission