CIC perused the two RTI Applications written in the same hand writing filed by different individuals - CIC: This does not take away the gross violation of the RTI provisions by the PIO - CIC expressed severe displeasure & marked a copy of the order to FAA
The Complainant sought information regarding four companies functioning in Gujarat.
Grounds for the Complaint:
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Complainant: Not present.
Respondent: Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO and Ashish Kumar, Joint Director & CPIO, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Indira Parvayaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh, New Delhi present in person.
Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO regretted that upon receipt of the notice of hearing it was ascertained that although the RTI Application was received in the RTI Cell on 28.09.2016; processed further only on 03.08.2017 and eventually marked to him for action on 11.08.2017, he is not able to comprehend as to why the RTI Application remained unattended. He further brought the attention of the bench to a RTI Application filed by Vinod Bijubhai Chavda dated 01.11.2015 which incidentally bears the same questions and even the same handwriting as that of the RTI Application under reference. In this regard, it was submitted that an Appeal has also been heard and decided vide File No.CIC/MOENF/A/2- 17/152362 on 17.09.2018 and information was provided to Vinod Bijubhai Chavda vide letter dated 20.12.2018. Similarly, when it came to his notice that the instant RTI Application has not been replied to, he has instantaneously replied on the same vide letter dated 04.01.2019. He tendered unconditional regret for the omission to reply on the instant RTI Application and urged that there was no malafide intention on his part.
Commission has perused the documents submitted by Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO and accedes with his apprehension regarding two same RTI Applications written in the same hand writing filed by different individuals. Nonetheless, this does not take away the factum of gross violation of the provisions of RTI Act by Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO. Commission expresses severe displeasure against the said omission of Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO and warns him to remain careful in future.
It is pertinent to note from the facts on record that more than the omission of Rajasekhar Ratti, Scientist ‘C’ & CPIO, Commission is aghast at the delay of about one year for the RTI Cell to process the instant RTI Application i.e after receipt of the RTI Application on 28.09.2016 by the RTI Cell, it has been processed with CPIO, IA Policy only on 03.08.2017. Commission notes this as a serious matter of concern as mere forwarding of RTI Application from RTI Cell takes almost a year and this speaks of a very alarming state of affairs within the Respondent office with respect to RTI Act which mandates time bound actions and prescribes penalty and disciplinary actions for omissions.
A copy of this order is marked to the First Appellate Authority to take note of the adverse observations of the Commission regarding the lax manner of functioning of the RTI Cell and ensure that corrective steps are taken to avoid such blatant violations of RTI Act in future. The Complaint is disposed of accordingly.
Divya Prakash Sinha
Citation: Petha Manji Maheshwari v. CPIO, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in File No: CIC/MOENF/C/2017/111710/SD, Date of Decision: 06/02/2019