CIC: The FAA had specifically directed the PIO to make effort to locate the information through a committee but even after that respondent did not take the matter seriously - CIC: compensation of Rs. 5,000/- awarded to the appellant u/s 19(8) (b)
The appellant sought copies of arrear sheet, VV sheet, PS-5 (03/90 to 03/97), YY statement (03/90 to 03/97), circular related to ‘Mission Biswas’ and copy of transfer orders from 1993 to 1996 from Kendra Colliery to other Colliery.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Both parties are present and heard. The appellant filed an RTI application on 21.10.2013, seeking the above information. Having not received any response from PIO in stipulated time period of thirty days, appellant filed an appeal to FAA. FAA vide order dated 11.02.2014 directed the CPIO, Pandaveswar Area to make efforts to locate the information through a committee and make available if found within fifteen days. Having not received any response from PIO in compliance of FAA’s order, appellant filed the present appeal before the Commission.
Respondent through written submission dated 14.08.2015 informed the Commission that the then Chief Manager Personnel, Pandaveswar Area vide letter dated 02.04.2014 provided available information to the appellant in compliance of FAA’s order. He further informed that after receiving the hearing notice of the Commission the record of CMPF office was examined by a competent officer and it revealed that contribution of 02% Pension Scheme was deposited to CMPF for the period from 3/1990 to 3/1993 against the appellant through supplementary “VV” but Rs. 37555.00/- was recovered from arrear by CMPF Authority at the time of settlement of pension erroneously. After examining all aspects letter no. 0643/P-1305 dated 12.08.2015 was sent to Regional Commissioner, CMPF, Region 1, Asansol to take necessary action for refund of the recovered amount to the appellant.
Appellant stated that the amount was wrongly deducted and it was failure on the part of the respondent. He further stated that now after lapse of 21 months of filing the RTI application, they wrote a letter to Regional Commissioner, CMPF for refund of money without any interest. He requested for directions to pay 12% interest on his deducted money and compensation. The respondent reiterated their stand as submitted in their written submission. On a query by the Commission as to why the action has not been taken immediately after receiving the RTI application which was taken after receiving the Commission’s hearing notice. Respondent stated that they acted as per the provisions.
After hearing both the parties and on perusal of record, the Commission finds that the action which was taken by the respondent on 12.08.2015 should have been taken earlier if the respondents take the matter sincerely. The FAA had specifically directed the PIO to make effort to locate the information through a committee but even after that respondent did not take the matter seriously and they became active only after receiving the hearing notice of the Commission. The appellant has clearly been harassed and has had to file first and second appeals unnecessarily, because of inept handling of his RTI application by the PIO. If the PIO had provided the information on time, amount could have been refunded to the appellant in time which is still pending. The award of compensation in such a case is called for in the interest of justice to the person who has suffered acute damage due to denial of information. The Commission awards compensation of Rs. 5,000/- to be paid to the appellant u/s 19(8) (b) of the RTI Act for the loss and detriment suffered by her due to inept handling of the RTI application. The amount will be paid to her by the head of the public authority, i.e. CMD, Eastern Coalfields Ltd., as compensation under the RTI Act. Head of the public authority is further directed that within one week of the payment of the compensation amount, he shall intimate this fact to the Commission. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shri C.K.D. Singh v. Eastern Coalfields Ltd., in F.No. CIC/YA/A/2014/001758