CIC: PIO provided a grossly inappropriate reply stating that the information sought is not clear, even as the RTI Application was extremely specific; PIO warned against such sheer negligence & causing unwarranted obstruction to right to info of citizens
The Appellant sought information regarding action taken on his letter dated 08.02.2018.
Grounds for the Second Appeal:
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Not present and did not respond to calls made on his mobile number (as provided in the Second Appeal) despite numerous attempts.
Respondent: Dheeraj Kumar, Dy. Director & PIO, Directorate of Education, A&N Administration, Port Blair, UT of Andaman and Nicobar present through VC.
PIO submitted that as per records it was found that the letter dated 08.02.2018 referred in the RTI Application has not been received in their office. He further submitted that during the hearing of First Appeal on 31.07.2018, FAA asked the Appellant to resend a copy of the averred letter, however, when no intimation was received from the Appellant and he did not appear for the hearing, the First Appeal was finally disposed of on 10.09.2018.
The current milieu of the pandemic COVID-19 has necessitated the Commission to take some extraordinary steps in the disposal of cases to avoid further backlog and delays subverting the very purpose of RTI Act which includes inter alia hearing cases through audio conferencing. The instant case being one such instance where even so the Appellant could not be heard, Commission deems it fit in the interest of the letter and spirit of RTI Act to decide the matter based on the material on record.
Commission observes that in view of the non-receipt of the averred letter by the Respondent office as submitted during the hearing, no scope of intervention is pertinent in the matter. However, upon perusal of facts on record, Commission observes that the PIO provided a grossly inappropriate reply vide letter dated 05.07.2018 stating that the information sought is not clear, even as the RTI Application was extremely specific. PIO is hereby warned against such sheer negligence in perusing RTI Applications in future and causing unwarranted obstruction to the right to information of citizens.
With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
Divya Prakash Sinha
Citation: D Shekhar v. Directorate of Education, A&N Administration, in File No : CIC/UTOAN/A/2018/158572, Date of Decision: 10/06/2020