CIC: Copy of the enquiry reports relating to a matter which is to be adjudicated by the court can be said to be information under the control of the court concerned; CIC would not like to interfere with the ongoing process by ordering the disclosure
Date of decision : 15th March 2016
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application filed by the Appellant, seeking information on four points regarding the action taken on his complaint dated 25.3.2012, reversal of the “erroneous” debits to his father’s account and related issues, came up today. The information concerning the action taken on the complaint dated 25.3.2012 and a copy of the related enquiry report was denied by the CPIO under Section 8 (1) (g) and (h) of the RTI Act on the ground that the matter was pending in a court pursuant to the enquiry conducted by the Anti Corruption Department of the U. P. Police. The remaining information was also denied by the CPIO on the same ground or on the ground that queries of the Appellant did not fall within the definition of information under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. Not satisfied with the response of the CPIO, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority and not having heard from him, approached the CIC in second appeal.
2. The Appellant stated that he wants a copy of the report of the enquiry conducted by the bank on his complaint dated 25.3.2012, a copy of the report prepared by the Anti Corruption Department of the U. P. Police and information concerning the action taken by the bank on the above reports. He further submitted that he has also sought some information regarding restoration to the account of the amount that was withdrawn wrongly.
3. The Respondents stated that the information sought by the Appellant related to the account of his father. He filed an FIR against the Branch Manager concerned. The matter was enquired into by the Anti Corruption Branch of the U. P. Police and a criminal case is now pending before a court. Therefore, information concerning the enquiry reports was not provided to the Appellant in the light of Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act.
4. The Appellant stated that his father expired on 14.11.2005 and the two “erroneous debits” were made on 8.10.2005 and 24.10.2005, when he was still alive. He further submitted that he was the nominee in the above account with his younger brother and alleged that the withdrawals were made as a result of collusion between his younger brother and the Branch Manager concerned.
5. The Respondents submitted that the issue of whether the two withdrawals were made wrongly is a matter to be decided by the court concerned. Further, the question of return of the money to the account would arise only if the court concerned rules that the withdrawals in question were made in an irregular manner.
6. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties and note that while the enquiry reports, copies of which have been sought by the Appellant, might have resulted from a complaint made by him, the matter of whether the two withdrawals were made in a fraudulent manner or not is now before the court concerned and the issue of restitution of the funds withdrawn is linked to the decision of the court, before which a criminal case is pending. In this context, we note the following observations made by the Commission in its decision No. CIC/AT/A/2008/01238 dated 7.6.2010:
“The word “under the control of” implies that the information, regardless of which public authority holds it, is under the control of a specific public authority on whose orders alone it can be produced in a given proceeding. In the present case, the material sought by the appellant is undoubtedly related to an ongoing court proceeding and hence it can be rightly said to be under the control of the Trial Court, who alone can decide how the information is to be dispensed. Any action under the RTI Act or any other Act for disclosure of that information to the very party who is arraigned before the Trial Court or to anyone representing that party, would have the effect of interfering with the discretion of the Court, thereby impeding an extant prosecution proceeding.”
The information sought by the Appellant concerning the enquiry reports relating to a matter which is to be adjudicated by the court can be said to be information under the control of the court concerned and we would not like to interfere with the ongoing process before the court by ordering disclosure of the information under the RTI Act to one of the parties to the case. The Appellant is at liberty to seek such information as he requires through the court concerned.
7. In view of the foregoing, intervention by the Commission is not considered necessary in this case.
8. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
9. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Surendra Singh v. Allahabad Bank in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/003024