CIC: The PIO stated that enquiry is being conducted in DC’s office which is not supported by any document; Direction issued to furnish point wise information - CIC: show cause notice issued to PIO why penalty u/s 20(1) should not be imposed on him
Heard on 10.10.14. Appellant was represented by Shri O.P.Dabas. Respondent is represented by Shri Neeraj Gupta and Shri Rajesh Shukla
2. The appellant Via his RTI application dated NIL sought information with respect to his Complaint dated 28-05-2013 Viz Diary No. & date on which these complaint have been received by Principal Secretary DOV / Deputy Secretary DOV and the concerned superintendent DOV through Principal Secretary DOV, on which date the Complaint was marked to the Concerned dealing assistant by the office superintendent, whether the alleged officer has furnished his comments etc. PIO replied on 13-08-2013. Being unsatisfied with the reply provided, the appellant preferred First Appeal on 24082013. FAA by his Order dated NIL upheld the information provided by the PIO and stated that information asked by the appellant attracts provision of Sec 8 (1)(h). Being unsatisfied with the information provided, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
3. The complaint was about the corruption against Sub Registrar in the O/o Divisional Commissioner and enquiry was going on. The PIO states that enquiry is being conducted in DC’s office which is not supported by any document. He is not in a position to say as to what is the charge sheet and the stage of enquiry. The PIO has just made a claim that enquiry is going on and sought exemption u/s 8(1) (h) of the RTI Act without furnishing any supplementary information. They have simply used 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; to stonewall every piece of information. The Appellant has sought status of his complaint, whether the alleged officer Shri Kushwaha has furnished his comments. For every question without applying his mind, PIO has used 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; . The Commission is compelled to draw an inference because of absence of any information or record or file saying that enquiry is in existence when there is no enquiry going on. PIO has simply dodged the response to the appellant. The Commission directs the PIO to furnish point wise information to the Appellant within three weeks of receipt of this order.
4. The Commission directs the PIO to show cause as to why penalty u/s 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. should not be imposed upon him for rejecting the RTI application using section 8(1) (h) and not showing any record to say that enquiry is going on. He is directed to submit his written response so as to reach the Commission within three weeks of receipt of this order.
5. The Commission ordered accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Krishna Devi v. Directorate of Vigilance, GNCTD in Case No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000130