CIC: A Public Institution should not suffer such kind of harassment by defaulter contractor & an abuser of RTI for acting rightly; Complainant cannot cause wastage of time, money and energy of the Public authorities for his personal disputes of this kind
2. Complainant by his RTI application had sought for all the documents/bills/challan from the tender No. 14/01 dated 04.12.2013 till date of the RTI filing, etc. Claiming non-furnishing of information, Complainant approached Commission under Section 18 of the RTI Act.
3. He sought for surveillance tapes of all the cameras of the CCTV system installed in the premises of the Wind Simulation Laboratory. Claiming non-furnishing of information, Complainant approached Commission.
4. He wanted for details of all the proceedings of his complaint lodged with the public grievance portal. Complainant stated that his complaint was forwarded from MHRD to Director, IITR who delegated to Prof. Pradeep Kumar of civil engineering department. Claiming non-furnishing of information, Complainant approached Commission.
5. He has asked for all tenders for quotations released by the Center of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management from its date of inception for which the final purchase order value exceeded Rs 50 Lakhs, all purchase order relating to the tender and all documents related to the test reports in such purchase order. Claiming non-furnishing of information, Complainant approached Commission. Decision:
CIC/SA/C/2015/000265 CIC/SA/C/2015/000266 CIC/SA/C/2015/000267 CIC/SA/C/2015/000268
6. The complainant claimed that his appeal comes under the category of ‘Life & Liberty’ which requires the information within 48 hours. When asked how complainant said that his EMD of Rs.3.84 crores (Bank guarantee) had been confiscated by the respondent authority, and that he did not get the information, even during the normal period of 30 days.
7. The Registrar explained that the complainant had been awarded a tender for Rs. 6.48 crores for installing experimental project on Turbulent Wind Energy in the respondent Institute. But he breached the conditions of the tender and the machine installed by him did not work due to the burning of a motor and thus the project remains nonfunctional. Hence as per the terms, they had seized the bank guarantee. The complainant had been agitating the matter against the respondent authority in several forums like before the Arbitrator, Civil Court, Contempt proceedings, and also in the Public Grievance cell of the MHRD. The modus operandi of the appellant is that – he files an RTI application, First appeal and also second appeal on the same day and claims that his case comes under life& liberty category without justifying the same. His demand for entire files of tenders beyond Rs 50 lakh value, for many years, cannot be conceded as that will lead to disclosure of commercial information of several firms who filed tenders.
8. The appellant appears to be a disgruntled element because of cancellation of contract for failure of performance resulting in partial realization of bank guarantee as per terms. He became interested in tenders information only after this. The number of RTI applications, and simultaneous filing of appeals, complaints and grievances show personal motives. He is not interested in any public interest. The Commission, having heard the submissions and perused the record, holds that it is a misuse of RTI by the complainant. Appellant was a party to a dispute which is before the Arbitrator. The respondent officer explained the seriousness of the default/failure of project on the part of the complainant, leading to the monetary loss to a public sector academic institute of repute. The complainant failed to substantiate why the information sought is classified under ‘Life & Liberty’ information. It is not information relating to life and liberty of appellant as the appellant is exercising his liberty to harass the public authority and his life is no way threatened. Simultaneously, he was writing complainants against the PIO/FAA and approaching the redressal grievance machinery. The respondent officer submitted that the contempt proceedings and also arbitration proceedings were also going on simultaneously. The complainant filed three more RTI applications relating to the same subject, which means he himself did not consider it as life & liberty information. The complainant wanted the footage of surveillance CCTVs in the wind turbine tunnel. In another application he demanded the entire information about all the tenders crossing 50 lakh rupees, which include confidential information of several firms. He does not have any purpose, much less ‘public purpose’. The surveillance asked by him, might have also included some private and confidential information of other individuals. In the absence of specific grounds justifying this demand for information establishing public interest, the complainant has no right to demand entire surveillance information. The same shall apply to his demand for information on all the tenders and related documents, which might contain details of specific technological aspects and also commercially competitive information. This also cannot be sought in a routine manner without establishing larger public interest.
9. A Public Institution should not suffer such kind of harassment by defaulter contractor and an abuser of RTI for the reason that it acted rightly to seize the public money by questioning the failed contractor without waiting for outcome of arbitration. The complainant does not deserve any sympathy, as his behavior before the Commission also appears not to be sincere. The respondent authority has a duty to pursue the interests of the institution using all legal means against the appellant. In the interest of the academic institution it will be proper for them to bring all this information about this abuser of RTI to the notice of the adjudicating authorities dealing with the disputes/grievances/complaints filed by the complainant.
10. Complainant cannot cause wastage of time, money and energy of the Public authorities for his personal disputes of this kind. The Commission records its admonition or the complainant for misuse the RTI motivated to build pressure on authority. He has no right to repeat the RTI applications on this subject as his present appeals were disposed of after due hearings.
11. The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent authority to prepare a comprehensive note on all the contracts wherein complainant was engaged, their status including breaches, consequences suffered by the institution along with this order and upload it on their official website.
12. With the above observations, the Commission dismisses all the four complaints filed by the complainant as harassing complaints.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Ankur Goyal, Haridwar v. IIT, Roorkhe in CIC/SA/C/2015/000265 CIC/SA/C/2015/000266 CIC/SA/C/2015/000267 CIC/SA/C/2015/000268