CIC: The deliberate obstruction in disclosure of the information is quite evident, since the PIO chose not to answer the RTI application for almost two months - CIC: PIO to produce documents for inspection to be conducted by the appellant in CIC
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 01.06.2017, seeking the following information:
- reasons for non-compliance of the orders of the SDM (Narela) dated 18.06.2016 in case no 16/RA/NL/2011-1234,
- reasons for the non supply of certified copy of mutation proceedings/order dated 28.11.2016 given by the Tehsildar, Narela and as per C-1 form received vide diary no. 3637/The/NL/16 dated 28.11.2016,
- details of the despatch diary/ID under which the order of the SDM was submitted to PS Bawana, Delhi, details of the receipt from PS Bawana etc.
Upon non receipt of any reply from the PIO, appellant filed First Appeal dated 12.07.2017. PIO/SDM(Narela), vide letter dated 28.07.2017 provided point wise reply to the appellant informing the appellant that the Delhi High Court had granted stay on the mutation order and concerned file had been consigned to record room.
FAA passed an order dated 01.08.2017 directing the PIO to provide record inspection to the appellant or her representative on 11.08.2017 at 11.00 AM and provide revised reply as per RTI application and certified copy of concerned records. Feeling aggrieved over the non-compliance of the FAA, appellant approached the Commission with instant Second Appeal.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
Submission dated 24.05.2019 has been received from the PIO/SDM (NL)- Sh. T N Meena, which reveals that when the Appellant visited the respondent’s office on 30.08.2017, she was informed that the records sought by her had already been consigned to record room on 26.07.2017. Hence, Appellant was advised to visit the Record Room at BD, North Office Complex, Alipur, Delhi. Respondent alone is present for hearing while the appellant is not present during the hearing despite service of hearing notice in advance. Respondent is not aware whether the appellant has visited the record room at Alipur. Appellant appeared later and submitted that she had been made to run from pillar to post, and yet the information sought by her had been consistently denied to her. She further stated that though she visited the Record Room, no information was shared with her, since as per the appellant’s claim, the respondent is colluding against her, in a property dispute between the appellant and her brother.
Upon perusal of records of the case and hearing the averments of the parties, the Commission notes that the facts of the case appear somewhat complicated from the chronological sequence itself. Firstly, the PIO chooses not to reply to the RTI application dated 01.06.2017 filed by the appellant. It is only after filing of the First Appeal dated 12.07.2017, the PIO/SDM(Narela) vide reply dated 28.07.2017 informed the appellant that the file/records/documents sought by her, had been consigned to record room on 26.07.2017. The deliberate obstruction in disclosure of the information is quite evident, since the PIO/SDM (Narela) chose not to answer the RTI application for almost two months - between 01.06.2017 to 28.07.2017, till the information reached the record room. Secondly, the PIO is empowered under the RTI Act to obtain information from another custodian of information or at least transfer the RTI application to the relevant custodian of the information. This has not done by the PIO/SDM (Narela) in gross violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. Thirdly, even when the appellant visited for inspection of records on 30.08.2017, as per directions of the FAA, she was denied access to information.
By the aforementioned conduct, the respondent has given enough reasons for the Commission to summon the concerned records, such that each of the record/information sought by the appellant can be examined in this Commission itself. Accordingly, the respondent/PIO-SDM(Narela)- Sh. T N Meena is directed to remain present in person with the relevant records on 25.06.2019 at 11.00am, for inspection to be conducted by the appellant/her authorised representative.
Proceeding on: 25.06.2019
On the stipulated date i.e. 25.06.2019, Sh. T N Meena, the SDM (Narela) alongwith Sh. Harender Mohan- Kanungo were present as per directions of the Commission. They had brought the following files with them, viz.
- Case file no. 16/RA/N/II – Sunita Dabas & Ors. vs. Jai Dev [Vill. Sultanpur Dabas] and
- case No. 16/RA/N/2011/2303 Mutation file- Sunita Dabas & Ors. vs. Jai Dev [Vill. Sultanpur Dabas].
However, the appellant was not present on the stipulated date of hearing. Hence no inspection of records could take place on the date fixed.
Final Decision: 14.08.2019
Considering the facts of the case, the Commission directs Sh. T N MeenaPIO/SDM, Narela to provide a revised reply, in terms of directions of the FAA (vide order dated 01.08.2017). He is further directed to provide inspection of the relevant records to the Appellant or her representative on 28.08.2019 at 11.00am and certified copy of documents as sought by her. Appellant shall visit the office of the PIO/SDM, Narela to avail inspection of the records on the date fixed. Compliance report in this regard shall be submitted by the PIO/SDM, Narela by 06.09.2019, failing which appropriate non-compliance proceedings shall ensue.
The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
Y. K. Sinha
Citation: Smt. Poonam Dabas v. PIO, O/o Tehsildar, SDM (Narela), Delhi in Second Appeal No. CIC/ADDDM/A/2017/164240, Date of Final Decision: 14.08.2019