CIC: Deemed PIO, Railway Board to show cause why action should not be taken under the RTI Act for misconduct and negligence in providing information to the appellant within the stipulated time period - CIC: Provide the information regarding recruitment
O R D E R
The appellant, vide his RTI application sought information related to the recruitment advertisement published in Rajasthan Patrika on 14.09.2013. The appellant seeking status of said recruitment, process and progress, status of appellant’s wife application and matters related thereto. Dissatisfied on not receiving any response from the CPIO, the appellant approached the FAA. However, the reply of the CPIO or the order of the FAA, if any, is not available on the record of the Commission.
Facts emerging during the hearing: The following were present:
Appellant: Mr. Bharat Bhushan Sharma (M: 8432818294) through VC;
Respondent: Mr. Gaurav Kumar Katiyar, Section Officer, M/o Railways (M:9717647049);
The appellant reiterated the contents of RTI application and stated that he had not been given the desired information. Moreover, the concerned CPIO had not provided any reply to his concerned information. In reply, the respondent explained that vide their letter dated 11.11.2016, they had requested the appellant to provide a legible copy of RTI application so that information could be furnished. The appellant acknowledged the receipt of the communication but contested that there had been a huge amount of delay in replying to the RTI application.
Explaining the delay, the respondent submitted that due to sudden demise of Joint Director Establishment, Railway Recruitment Board, the RTI application was initially not responded to. They learnt about the RTI application only after receipt of the second appeal.
The Commission observed that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of respondent was against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency, effective and greater access to the information.
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, it is evident that no reasonable justification had been provided by the respondent in the matter, which is a grave violation of the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
The Commission instructs Mr. S. N. Jha, EO-II, M/o Railways, Railway Board, New Delhi to show cause why action should not be taken under the provisions of the Act for this misconduct and negligence in providing information to the appellant within a stipulated time period. The Commission therefore, directs the respondent to:
1- provide the information to the appellant within a period of 10 days;
2- explain why penal action should not be taken as per 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, 2005, within 15 days; from the date of receipt of this order.
The appeal stands disposed with the above direction.
Citation: Mr. Bharat Bhushan Sharma v. Ministry of Railways in Appeal No.:-CIC/VS/A/2015/001307-BJ