CIC: it appears that no personal hearing was afforded to the appellant to make their submissions before the FAA, hence, the order of FAA is against the principles of natural justice & Section 19(1); it is not legally tenable; matter remanded to FAA
1. Vide RTI application dated 25.09.2013, the Appellant sought information on the 12 issues.
2. CPIO, vide its response dated 24.10.2013, allegedly not provided the information to the appellant.
3. The First Appeal (FA) was filed on 14.11.2013, as the desired information was not provided
4. First Appellate Authority (FAA), vide its order dated 12.12.2013, upheld the decision of CPIO.
5. Grounds for the Second Appeal filed on 30.12.2014, are contained in the Memorandum of Appeal.
Appellant opted to be absent despite of our due notice to him. Respondents appeared before the Commission personally and made the submissions at length.
It would be seen here that the appellant, vide his RTI Application dated 25.09.2013, sought information from the respondents on three issues as contained therein. Respondents vide their response dated 24.10.2013, denied the required information to the appellant by stating that the information, sought by appellant, pertains to the third party and cannot be supplied to the appellant under section 11 of the RTI Act 2005. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid response, FA was filed by the appellant on 14.11.2013 before the FAA, who vide his order dated 12.12.2013, upheld the decision of CPIO. Hence, a Second Appeal before this Commission.
2. It is pertinent to mention here that the CPIO vide his response dated 24.10.2013, simply denied the required information to the appellant by taking a plea under Section 11 of the RTI Act 2005 without mentioning as to whether the comments of the Third Party was invited or not. Further, learned FAA, vide his order dated 12.12.2013, disposed of the FA by upholding the views of CPIO. However, in Para 8(ii) of his order learned FAA mentioned that the procedure laid down relating to third party has been followed by the CPIO and the parties concerned have given in writing that the applicant has family disputes and business rivalry with them and as per the Section 11 of the RTI Act 2005, no such information may be given to him. Further, as per contents of FAA’s order dated 12.12.2013, there appears that no personal hearing was afforded to the appellant to make their submissions before learned FAA. That being the position, the order of learned FAA is against the principles of natural justice and even the provisions of Section 19 (1) of the RTI Act 2005. Thus, it is not legally tenable.
3. It is worth to mention here that on this very aspect, the wordings of CPIO’s response dated 24.10.2013, indicates something else and not supporting the versions of learned FAA’s order dated 12.12.2013, regarding the procedure followed under Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act 2005. In other words, the views of CPIO and FAA are in a divergent direction. As such, these are not legally tenable.
4. The Commission heard the submissions made by respondents at length. The Commission also perused the case-file thoroughly; especifically, nature of issues raised by the appellant in his RTI application dated 25.09.2013, respondent’s response dated 24.10.2013, FAA’s order dated 12.12.2013 and also the grounds of memorandum of second appeal.
5. By virtue of position above and in the circumstances of the case, the Commission is of the considered view that it is a fit case to be remanded back to learned FAA with a direction to disposed of the appellant’s First Appeal filed on 14.11.2013, under the provisions of RTI Act 2005, afresh, after affording an opportunity to the appellant, within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order under intimation to the Commission. As such, the case is remanded back. The Appeal is disposed of accordingly.
(M.A. Khan Yusufi)
Citation: Shri S P Goyal v. Commissioner of Customs, CFS (Concor) in File No. CIC/KY/A/2014/0000290