CIC: reasons given by PIO that the ‘matter was under process’ to delay information not accepted; PIO directed to give a detailed explanation for delay - CIC: PIO to provide the information; compensation of Rs. 10,000/- granted to applicant u/s 19(8)(b)
This matter was earlier heard on 24.02.2014 and Commission issued an interim order dated 24.02.2014 directing Shri Randeep Thakur, CPIO to show cause as to why penalty is not to be imposed on him. The matter was again heard on 23.04.2014 and the Commission has passed another interim order dated 23.04.2014 the contents whereof are reproduced below:
“During the hearing, Appellant informs the Commission that he was selected for the appointment to the post of SI in CPO Exam, 2012. However, his result was withheld along with other 38 candidates on the basis of post examination analysis carried out by the SSC. He was also issued a show cause notice by SSC in this regard which he had already replied to. However no decision has far been communicated to him by SSC on the matter. Shri R. Thakur, CPIO, representing the Respondents, states that of 39 candidates, whose result was withheld, 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. have already been cleared/exonerated from the charges. He states that he would check up with the concerned branch and furnish the factual information to the Appellant on the matter.
4. In view of the above, the Commission hereby directs the CPIO, Shri R. Thakur to communicate the decision taken by the SSC on the Appellant’s case to him within 10 days of receipt of this order. As regard the reply dated 23.04.2014 filed by the CPIO to the show cause notice issued to him, the Commission notes th at this reply does not properly explain the reason for delay. The CPIO Shri Thakur is therefore hereby directed to file a fresh reply to show cause notice within 10 days of receipt of this order. The Appellate Authority is also directed to submit compliance report in respect of the Commission’s direction dated 24.02.201. ”
2. The matter was heard today dated 09.05.2014 in the presence of respondent’s representative Shri R. Thakur, U.S. & CPIO and appellant’s representative Shri Suresh. In compliance of the above said interim order, FAA has sent a letter dated 17.4.14 directing the CPIO to provide his reply alongwith the information immediately to the appellant. CPIO, vide letter dated 8.5.14, informed the appellant that out of 39 candidates whose result has been kept withheld, 25 candidates have been cleared in which appellant’s result has not been cleared and a copy of letter dated 8.5.14 was also endorsed to the Commission.
3. Appellant submits that his RTI application dated 8.2.13 seeking, interalia, information about reasons for withholding his results was replied to by Shri Thakur, CPIO only after the FAA’s order dated 16.4.13 on 26.08.2013, therefore there was deemed refusal on part of the CPIO as per Section 7(2) of the RTI Act. On his part, CPIO has filed his written submissions dated 09.05.2014 wherein he submits that the applicant already knew the reasons for his results being withheld, therefore his rank and interview marks were not given. He submits that the appellant was issued showcause and a Committee was also constituted to take a decision on the showcause representations.
4. After going through the arguments made by the parties and the records available, Commission is not inclined to accept the reasons given by the CPIO that the ‘matter was under process’ to delay/deny the information. He is hereby directed to give a detailed reply explaining the delay in replying to the RTI application.
5. Commission is of the view that a clear, categorical reply regarding final decision taken by the SSC on the showcause issued to the appellant has not been provided to him. Therefore, CPIO Shri Thakur is hereby directed to give a clear/categorical reply regarding final decision taken by SSC on appellant’s reply and the reasons thereof. He would also provide all the documents related to the said PostExamination analysis, showcause issued, Committee constituted in relation thereto alongwith all filenotings and minutes with the decision of competent authority as well as of the Committee.
6. Coming to the question of compensation payable by the respondent public authority, Section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act, 2005 reads as follows: “In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to— (b) require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered;” In Delhi Development Authority v Subhash Chander (W.P No 5563/2009), Hon’ble Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court has held as follows: “Information Commission could direct payment of compensation under Section 19(8) (b) if the loss and detriment suffered was on account of application made under the Right to Information Act and failure of the respondents to supply information”. He was given a delayed reply with incomplete information and has suffered in his career due to the inaction of the respondent public authority and although he was issued showcause, his representations made in regard thereto and decision taken thereon by the Committee, still remains elusive to him. He has to travel to New Delhi from his hometown to attend the hearing before the Commission and has undergone harassment by the delayed supply of information. Commission is of the view that the appellant has suffered loss and detriment on account of application made under the RTI Act and failure of the respondent to supply information within 30 days. After taking into account the attending circumstances, the Commission feels that it would be in the interest of justice to pay compensation to the appellant under Section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act. The head of the public authority is, accordingly, directed to pay a compensation of Rs. 10,000/- to the appellant and remit this amount to the appellant through Demand Draft/Cheque under intimation to this Commission. The orders of the Commission are to be complied with within 3 weeks of receipt of the order.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Naveen Kumar v. Staff Selection Commission in CIC/SM/A/2013/000831SS