CIC: Harassment of a sincere officer by applicant by filing frivolous RTI applications for being an Inquiry Officer in the disciplinary case against him; place this order on the website under the heading ‘Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI’
Observation : Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI
Heard on 30.6.14. Appellant present. Public Authority is represented by Shri N.L.Sharma, OSD
2. The RTI Applicant, Shri Ranjan Sharma filed an RTI application dt.16.5.12 with the PIO, Education Dept., GNCTD seeking information against following points:
i) Date since when Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi(Appellant herein) is posted as a Principal in the Govt. Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya Chirag Enclave, New Delhi 48
ii) Certified copy of quotations submitted in this school for purchasing under the various school funds like examination, V.K.S. P.T.A. Boys Fund, contingency etc during the tenure of the said Principal.
iii) Attested copy of the comparative statements made in this regard during the above mentioned period.
The PIO replied on 4.6.12. With regard to points (ii) and (iii), he invited the Appellant to inspect the records. Not satisfied with the reply, the Appellant filed an appeal dt.29.6.11 with the Appellate Authority. The Appellate Authority vide her order dt.7.8.12 directed the PIO to allow inspection of records and provide the documents identified by the Appellant, free of cost.
Being aggrieved with the order of the Appellate Authority, Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi, APIO and Principal of the School approached the Commission vide his petition dt.27.8.12 before CIC. In his petition, Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi, (Appellant) submitted that he is aggrieved with repeated RTI applications filed by Shri Ranjan Sharma (RTI Applicant) and the order passed by the Appellate Authority. He stated that RTI Applicant, Shri Ranjan Sharma has been charge sheeted under Rule 14 of CCS(CCA) Rules, 1965 and he (Appellant) was appointed as Inquiry Officer in the matter by the Department. According to Shri Chaturvedi, since the initiation of enquiry, a number of RTI applications have been filed seeking unrelated information which does not warrant any public interest in any way as the sole motive behind filing these RTI applications was just to harass the appellant. Shri Chaturvedi added that he had represented the matter to the Appellate Authority but in view of the decision dated 16.6.08 in appeal number CIC/WB/A/2008/01082, he has been asked to approach the Commission. Hence the appeal is preferred. Along with his petition, he has also enclosed several RTI applications filed by Shri Ranjan Sharma seeking various information about him.
3. During the hearing, Shri Chaturvedi submitted that the Appellate Authority later issued a corrigendum to her order and since the purpose for which he had approached the Commission has been fulfilled, he requested the Commission to close the case.
4. The Commission on perusal of the documents on record and after hearing the Appellant is of the opinion that this is a clear case of harassing a sincere officer by Shri Ranjan Sharma though filing frivolous RTI applications against Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi for being an Inquiry Officer in the disciplinary case against Shri Ranjan Sharma. The Commission also noticed that Delhi High Court in W.P. (C) 7897/2012 and W.P.(C) 1839/2013 in the case of Govt. of NCT of Delhi Vs. Ranjan Sharma has observed : ‘Shri Ashok Vishnu who was appointed as Inquiry Officer in a disciplinary case against Shri Ranjan Sharma (RTI applicant) was mentally harassed by the RTI Applicant by filing frivolous applications under RTI Act and that Shri Ashok Vishnu expressed his inability to conduct the disciplinary proceedings and thus Shri Shehyad Khan, Superintendent was appointed as Inquiry Officer who was similarly harassed who also gave up inquiry. Finally, Shri Sanjay Chaturvedi, (Appellant) a strong willed person was appointed as an Inquiry Officer and he stood firm against the onslaughts of the respondent (Shri Ranjan Sharma) and we find from the record that the RTI applicant made frivolous complaints and threatened civil and criminal action against the Appellant while writing letters dt.28.3.12, 16.5.12, 8.6.12, 25.6.12 and 28.6.12. The Court also observed that Central Administrative Tribunal without looking into the record and ignoring how the RTI Applicant subverted the inquiry proceedings has held that the documents were supplied to the RTI applicant after five years. The Tribunal has overlooked the fact that the RTI Applicant had adopted a stratagem of contrivance to delay the disciplinary proceedings and even went to the extent of threatening civil and criminal action against the inquiry officer. Regretfully, the Tribunal has closed its ears to the other side of the story.
5. The Commission records appreciation for Dr.Sanjay Chaturvedi for his steadfast fight against the disgruntled employee Shri Ranjan Sharma, who blatantly misused RTI, subverted process of law with malicious intentions. The Commission observes that the public authority should have come to the rescue of the Appellant and supported him in fighting the abuse of the law.
6. The Commission directs the Public Authority to place this order in their official website under the heading ‘Fight of a bold officer against abuse of RTI’ in their RTI Section.
7. As the purpose of the Appellant has been fulfilled, the case is closed at the Commission’s end with above observations.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Sanjay Chaturvedi, Ranjan Sharma v. Education Dept., GNCTD in Case no. CIC/AD/A/2013/001721SA