CIC: Section 4(1)(d) of the RTI Act concerns provision by public authorities of reasons for their major administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected persons & does not require the PIO to offer an explanation or provide an opinion
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 14.5.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on a large number of points concerning various service matters. The CPIO responded on 16.9.2013. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, the Appellant filed second appeal dated 20.12.2013 to the CIC, which was received by the Commission on 13.1.2014.
2. The Appellant submitted that he is an employee of the Respondent bank and his representations in regard to various service matters were not responded to by the bank. Hence he filed the above RTI application. He alleged that uneven treatment to different employees and irregularities in reimbursements etc. have resulted in frictions in the work of a branch of the bank and some of the queries in his RTI application were aimed at checking such practices. The Respondents submitted that the Appellant has raised a very large number of queries, which amounts to misuse of the RTI facility. They further submitted that the Appellant has personal animosity towards the Branch Manager and the RTI Act cannot be used to settle personal issues. Moreover, in a number of queries, the Appellant has sought explanation from the CPIO, which does not fall within the ambit of information as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. The Appellant submitted that under Section 4 (1) (d), a public authority is required to provide reasons for its administrative decisions to affected persons.
3. We have considered the records and the submissions made before us by both the parties. We note that the Appellant filed the RTI application due to alleged inaction on the part of the Respondents in regard to his representations on various service matters. We are of the view that the primary purpose of the RTI Act is not to settle service issues that arise on a day to day basis in any office. On going through the RTI application, we find that the information sought by the Appellant can be classified under three broad categories; information relating to the Appellant himself, information relating to third parties and reasons / explanations sought in respect of certain actions of the Respondent Bank. The Supreme Court in the case of Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors., decided on 9.8.2011 held that “A public authority is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inferences and / or making of assumptions. It is also not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant.” Section 4 (1) (d) concerns provision by public authorities of reasons for their major administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected persons and does not require the CPIO to offer an explanation or provide an opinion. Further, personal information of third parties, sought by the Appellant, is not disclosable, as no larger public interest has been established.
4. In view of the foregoing and having perused the RTI application and the response of the Respondents, we direct the CPIO to provide to the Appellant information on points 2 (f), (h), 4 (i) to (l) and 5 (b). Further, such information as is available in a compiled form with the Respondents (only the number of transactions / complaints) should also be provided in response to point 2 (g). The CPIO is further directed to comply with our above directives within thirty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
5. With the above directions and observations, the appeal is disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Shiv Kumar Chaudhari v. Bank of Maharashtra in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/900128