CIC: The office is not near to any river for a flood; furnish the list of records destroyed during the flood & upload the same on web; intimate the remedial measures being taken for reconstructing the destroyed files; show cause notice to PIO for penalty
The appellant is present. The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Satish Kumar, Tehsildar, Dwaraka, GNCTD, Delhi.
2 The appellant has filed RTI application dt 14.2.2013 seeking 7 point information viz. whether flood inundated the respondent’s office premises in the year 2009 & 2010, if so date and location; documents destroyed during the flood inundating; Whether office record of certificate branch of your office destroyed etc. CPIO vide order dt 16.9.2013 gave pointwise reply. Being unsatisfied with the CPIO reply, the appellant made first appeal on 10.8.2013. On not receiving any reply from the FAA within the prescribed time, appellant made second appeal before the Commission. In Second appeal, the appellant presented a table narrating the questions asked by him, the replies furnished by the PIO and his comments thereon.
3. Both the parties made their submissions. The appellant raised a very important question of great public importance. The so called floods is a potential ‘stone wall’ with which the office of SDM can ‘stonewall’ every RTI question and render the RTI Act, a useless enactment as far as their office concerned. The Commission is not happy with the response of the Public Authority that the relevant records were destroyed by floods, because their office is not near to any river for this kind of natural calamity and inundation by drain water, is not expected. It reflects pathetic state of affairs prevailing in the respondent office, as they are not able to say when the flood occurred and the details of the records destroyed. The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent authority to perform its legitimate duty of finding out what records were destroyed in the flood, if there is any flood, inform when it occurred, why a list of the same and examine whether it is possible to reconstruct those files by collecting the information from different sources. If this process requires an inquiry, the Commission directs the Public Authority to set up such Inquiry Committee immediately. The respondent authority submitted that the inquiry would take 2 – 3 months. The Commission also directs the respondent authority to inform the appellant first, within 15 days when they are initiating the inquiry and after concluding the enquiry within 3 months, furnish the resultant list of records destroyed during the flood and upload the same in the Public Domain as well as display in the office premises, along with a copy to the appellant. The respondent authority shall also intimate the appellant the remedial measures they are taking for reconstructing the destroyed files within one month from the date of completion of the inquiry.
4. The Commission disbelieves the claim of ‘floods’ by the PIO and he is directed to show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed against him for making casual, unfounded claim of ‘floods’ without any reasonable data, which amounts to denial of records.
5. The Commission orders accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Mr. Harish Kumar v. Sub Divisional Magistrate Dwaraka, GNCTD in File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000268