The case of enquiry of file found missing in the Lucknow Central Excise Commissionerate
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Office of the Commissioner of Central Excise & Service Tax seeking copy of the letter by the Additional Commissioner Central Excise (Preventive) Lucknow, date of receipt of compliance submitted the Assistant Commission and copy of all correspondences, reports and note sheets from Central Excise Commissionerate, Lucknow file No. IV(CP/9/CP/Prince 100% EOU/98/2003 from 1.1.2004. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that the concerned file is not traceable in the Preventive Branch. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) directed the PIO make all efforts to trace out the files and make provide the information to the appellant within one month. During the hearing before the Commission on 2.8.2011, the PIO submitted that the desired documents could not be provided to the appellant since the file was not traceable despite best efforts made by the concerned Department to locate the file. Further, action has also been initiated to fix the responsibility. After hearing, the Commission vide its order dated 9.9.2011 directed the respondent to complete the inquiry expeditiously within two months and to provide a copy of the report to the appellant.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the PIO submitted that the desired documents could not be provided to the appellant since the file was not traceable despite best efforts made by the concerned Department to locate the file. The PIO submitted that the enquiry was being conducted for fixing responsibility and one officer who dealt with the file had failed to recall as to which officer was dealing with this file. Hence, further enquiry has been referred to the Disciplinary Authority/Vigilance Branch for taking action in terms of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965. A tracer was also issued in this regard by the concerned branch but the file is still not traceable. The appellant submitted that the requested information and documents are crucial documents for his defence in a disciplinary case before the Appellate Reversionary Authority (ARA) and if the documents are not provided to him, then he may lose the case. The appellant also requested for award of compensation for the detriment suffered by him 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; and section 19(8)(c) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to impose any of the penalties provided under this Act; of the RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Commission took a serious view of the act that the respondent have not yet complied with the directions of the Commission dated 9.9.2011. Holding that the respondent can only supply information if such information is held by them, the Commission directed the PIO to complete the enquiry within two weeks of receipt of this order and to inform the appellant of the outcome of the enquiry.
Citation: Mr. N.K. Srivastava v. Office of the Commissioner of Central Excise & Service Tax in Case No. CIC/SS/C/2012/000629
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1174
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