CIC: copies of letters transferring the applications u/s 6 (3) (ii) were endorsed to Appellant who did not object to the transfer at that stage; the replies received from the PIO cannot be presumed to contain the replies of the FAA also; matter remanded
This matter pertains to two RTI applications dated 12.5.2012 and 22.5.2012, filed by the Appellant to the PMO and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) respectively, seeking information regarding the names of officials, who accompanied the Indian Cricket Team to Pakistan in 2004, whether some of them interacted with members of Pakistan’s Military Establishment and, if so, did they request for permission to have such meetings. Vide its letter dated 25.5.2012, the PMO transferred the RTI application dated 12.5.2012 to the Ministry of External Affairs under Section 6 (3) (ii) of the RTI Act. A copy of the PMO letter, transferring the RTI application as above, was endorsed to the Appellant. In its turn, MEA transferred both the applications to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, under Section 6 (3) (ii) of the RTI Act, vide its letters dated 24.5.2012 and 29.5.2012. Copies of the above letters from MEA, transferring the applications to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, were also endorsed to the Appellant. The CPIO, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports responded to both the applications vide two separate letters dated 18.6.2012. The CPIO stated that the information regarding sending of teams is held by the concerned National Sports Federation i.e. BCCI in this case and that such information is not held by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
2. The Appellant sent an appeal to the CIC “under Section 19 (1)” of the RTI Act on 2.7.2012. In support of sending this appeal directly to the CIC, he stated that MEA’s letters dated 24.5.2012 and 29.5.2012, transferring the two applications to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, were addressed to the FAA of that Ministry. Therefore, the Appellant presumed that the CPIO’s reply also included the reply of the FAA.
3. The matter came up before us today. The Appellant was represented by Shri Devendra Gujar, who was present at the NIC Studio, Pune and had an authorization letter from the Appellant to represent him at the hearing. Shri A. K. Patro, Under Secretary and CPIO was present in person on behalf of the Respondents Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
4. The Respondents reiterated the replies already given by them. The representative of the Appellant stated that this sort of information should be available with PMO and MEA and it was not clear why they had transferred his RTI applications to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. He further submitted that representatives of PMO and MEA should also have been called for today’s hearing. We note that PMO had transferred the RTI application received by it under Section 6 (3) (ii) of the RTI Act to MEA and MEA in turn transferred the application received from PMO and the one received by it directly to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports under the same Section. In this context, we further note that inherent in the transfer of an RTI application by one public authority to another under Section 6 (3) (ii) is the stand of the public authority, which transfers the application, that it does not hold the information sought in the whole or a part of the RTI application. It is to be noted that PMO and MEA had transferred the RTI applications in their entirety. We further note that even though copies of the letters transferring the applications were endorsed to the Appellant, he did not object to the transfer at that stage.
5. We also do not agree with the contention of the Appellant that since the two letters of MEA, transferring the RTI applications to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, were addressed to the Joint Secretary and FAA of that Ministry, the replies received from the CPIO of that Ministry should be presumed to contain the replies of the FAA also. Moreover, the appeal dated 2.7.2012, sent by the Appellant to the Commission under Section 19 (1), should lie to the FAA of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Since, this appeal never went before the FAA of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, he cannot be presumed to have passed his order on it.
6. In view of the foregoing, we remit this matter to the FAA of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and are enclosing a copy of the Appellant’s appeal dated 2.7.2012, under Section 19 (1) of the RTI Act, with this order. The FAA is directed to give a hearing to the Appellant and pass an order on this appeal within thirty days of the receipt of this order from the Commission. The Appellant shall be at liberty to approach the Commission in second appeal in case he is not satisfied with the order of the FAA.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Prakash Ambedkar v. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in File No. CIC/LS/C/2012/001039/SH