CIC: It is height of adamant anti-RTI attitude to say that request about frauds & action taken on them is ‘no information’ u/s 2(f) - CIC directed to provide a comprehensive report - Show cause notice for penalty & initiating disciplinary action issued
1. The appellant sought information on the number of frauds committed by the postal officials of western region, Rajasthan with details of office; amount of fraud involved in each fraud (office-wise); name and designation of the officer who conducted the inquiry of those fraud cases etc through nine points for the period between September 2008 and November 2014. CPIO denied information under Section 2(1)(f) and 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of RTI Act and the same was upheld by the FAA. Being dissatisfied, the appellant approached this Commission.
2. It is pathetic that several cases of fraud are being complained and the information requests about them are being stonewalled by the Superintendents and Senior Superintendents of the Post Offices. The denials are total and en bloc. The CPIO does not attend, and the subordinates plead no authority to answer or to perform duties under RTI Act. It is height of adamant anti-RTI attitude to say that RTI request about frauds and action taken on them as ‘no information’ under Section 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 RTI Act. In addition the CPIO made a contradictory submission that information sought could not be given under Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; . It means that inquiry is pending and disclosure of information sought will impede inquiry. This is again a reckless rejection without explaining how it would impede. The applicant is seeking action taken on complaints of fraud. The CPIO has to explain how many fraud complaints received, amount involved along with the list of officers accused. How this information will impede inquiry? The Commission directs the respondent authority to provide a comprehensive report with number of fraud cases pending, disposed, number of punishment orders imposed, value of money defrauded etc during 2015-2016, within one month; and information about cases of 2016-17, within two months under intimation to the Commission. The Commission directs the CPIO to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed against him for illegal denial of information, and why disciplinary action should not be recommended against him before 20th October, 2017. Disposed of.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Central Information Commissioner
Citation: B L Sharma v. PIO, Department of Posts in CIC/POSTS/A/2017/188334, Decided On : 20.09.2017