CIC: Do not misuse RTI for disclosure of all and sundry information by asking disorganized, vague & voluminous information; Recommended to limit & prioritize the requirement; cost effectiveness aspect of disclosure of information cannot be discarded
1. Appellant is present. Mr. Sukhpal Chauhan, Mr. M. S. Vats, DD (Rehab), DUSIB, Mr. Rachey Singh, Mr. Kushla Nand, UDC, Manish Kumar, FPO, Mr. Sunil Kumar, PIO, Power Deptt., Mr. P. K. Kulshrestha, Asstt,m Power Deptt and Mr. N. K. Tomar, SE(West), DJB represent Public authority.
2. The appellant filed the RTI application seeking information pertaining to an advertisement on Doordarshan channel depicting claim of Delhi Government CM Mr. Arvind Kejriwal that there have been deductions in bill payable with respect to electricity & water. The appellant sought information as to whether the claim of the Chief Minister is indeed correct with respect to the fact that there is widespread happiness in every household pursuant to such deductions of bills. Also, amount spent on such advertisements. He sought how many homeless; slum dwellers were given housing facility ever since Mr. Kejriwal came to power in Delhi. The CPIO gave vague reply stating that the persons eligible for relocation have been relocated and that the matter is under consideration by the SUR department. The appellant filed appeal before the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA said that as the application was transferred to department of Information & Publicity so first appeal should be files to the concerned authority. Dissatisfied, the appellant filed a second appeal before this Commission under section 19(3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission: Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. of the RTI Act.
Proceedings Before the Commission:
3. Representative of Delhi Jal Board stated that they have laid pipe line and started supply of water in the area of Bindapur Pocket from 15th December, 2015. Mr. M. S. Vats, DD (Rehab), DUSIB stated that the matter is under consideration or Govt. of NCT Delhi. It is with Shri Arvind Kejriwal Government for consideration by Cabinet Ministers and draft will be placed before the L.G., and then it will be finally approved by the Union Government. There are 675 clusters with lakhs of jhuggis in Delhi, which need to be relocated. The Commission directs, PIO of DUSIB to furnish copy of the site place for relocation of Jhuggis to the appellant, within 10 days.
4. Officers’ representatives of Power Department stated that the copy of two sanction orders, sanctioned to compensate subsidy provided to the consumers has been provided to the appellant. The Commission directs the Officers’ representatives of Power Department to provide a copy of two sanction letters giving details of discounts for compensating the subsidy given.
5. The Representative of Directorate of Information and Publicity stated that they have spent Rs. 9.22 crore in relation to the programme broadcasted in TV channels, since formation of Shri Arvind Kejriwal government to till date. He stated that expenditure relating to Print Media shall be furnished within 10 days.
6. The Commission also advises the appellant not to misuse the precious Right to Information for disclosure of all and sundry information by asking disorganized, vague and voluminous information under the RTI Act. The appellant is therefore recommended to limit and prioritize the requirement of information, so that the same could be provided with ease. The cost effectiveness aspect of disclosure of information also cannot be discarded. The apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik in a judgment in Central Board Of Sec. Education & vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors , Civil Appeal No.6454 of 2011 held : “ …. the Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty.”
Also, the Information sought should be clearly specified in terms of Sec. 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the Act and should not be vague as held In the case of S.K. Ranga vs. Container Corporation of India Ltd. (Appeal No.CIC/OK/A/2006/00260, dated 2/1/2007). The Commission orders accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Jawahar Singh v. Department of Information and Publicity in Case No. CIC/SA/A/2015/001463