CIC took a serious view of the callous attitude adopted by the PIO who did not attend the hearing despite being put on notice - CIC directed the FAA to call for the explanation of the PIO for not providing the information & for not attending the hearing
File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/001669
The appellant wants the information regarding the replies and copies given to him by BSNL regarding various letter mentioned below:-
Letter No. E16/staff/RTD/personal/2007-08/01 date 11/10/07 copy of letter & answer given by him date 13/10/07, a copy to be given.
On 17th May 2007 Diwate has given intimation about working as honorary consultant, letter copy.
On this subject he has replied on 23/10/07, copy of Answer
DE Vigilance letter date 03/12/08, given by him a letter copy to be given
DE Vigilance asked Questionnaires on 24/08/09 answer given by him.
On 03/11/08 copy to GM Telecom Aurangabad, And CGMT Maharashtra Telecom Mumbai telegram addressed to them, copies to be given & No. of Telegrams.
On 06/12/10 Diwate has submitted a letter to CGMT Aurangabad, & CGMK Maharashtra Telecom Mumbai-54 a copy of letter to be given.
On 26/12/11 a representation given to GMT Aurangabad & copy to be given.
File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/001703
DE Vigilance letter notice board date 07/12/2012 at Sanchar Sadan, CTO, Telephone Bhavan, Chikhalthana Exchange, Harsul Exchange as important information heading letter.
As per letter referred above R T Diwate (Sub divisional Engineer) project Vijay, from how many days he is involve in other money lending activities inform date.
Regarding money landing activities all related documents to be given.
As per BSNL rules whether private complaints/cases (except departmental) can be investigated, if yes details.
If investigation can be done ruling of BSNL conduct/discipline and appeal rules 2006, copy to be given.
For the investigation whether DE Vigilance has taken permission from higher authority information to be given.
As per DE Vigilance No. of complaints received & there copies to be supplied.
If DE vigilance sent a report copy of report to be given.
RT Diwate (Sub divisional Engineer) project Vijay, after his appointment any departmental enquiry is going on details.
GMT issued letter on 06/12/2012 to Diwate on his complaint copy to be given.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing held on 20/8/2014: The following were present
Appellant: Mr. Ramesh Tukaram Diwate through VC
The appellant stated that the key issue in both his RTI applications is the same and accordingly they may be disposed of by a common order. He further stated that in para 6 of his RTI application dated 26/02/2013 [File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/001669] he had sought copy(s) of the telegram(s) sent against him based on which disciplinary action was initiated but the information has not been supplied. He added that the FAA/GMTD routinely passes orders upholding the CPIO’s reply without giving any opportunity of hearing to him The CPIO is not present inspite of being put on notice for the hearing.
Interim Decision notice dated 20/08/2014:
Access to information, under Section 3 of the RTI Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner so as to shadow the very right itself. Whenever any information is refused quoting an exemption the authority withholding the information must show satisfactory reasons and the reasons should be based on some material. Sans this consideration the information cannot be withheld. The Commission takes a serious view of the lackadaisical/callous attitude adopted by the CPIO who has not bothered to attend the hearing inspite of being put on notice. The Commission, therefore, directs the FAA/GMTD, BSNL Aurangabad SSA to call for the explanation of the CPIO for not providing the information sought by the appellant and also for not attending the hearing inspite of being put on notice. The explanation of the CPIO as aforesaid along with the FAA’s comments should reach the Commission on or before 15/09/2014 by post and also by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As regards the appellant’s submissions that the FAA routinely passes orders upholding the CPIO’s reply without giving an opportunity of personal hearing to him, it is needless to say that rendering an opportunity of hearing to the parties is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence. It is conducive to fairness and transparency and accords with the principles of natural justice. An opportunity of hearing to the parties also brings greater clarity to the adjudicating authorities. This Commission always gives an opportunity of hearing to the parties but this does not appear to be usually done by the FAAs, as probably there are practical difficulties therein, partly arising out of the number of appeals involved and partly due to the limited time frame in which the matters are required to be decided. In view of this, we would only like to suggest that the FAA should, as far as possible give the appellant including the third party, if any, an opportunity of hearing specially if he so requests, without forgetting that the essence of RTI Act is to provide complete, correct and timely information to the appellant.
Hearing is adjourned for 22/09/2014 at 04.00 PM
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing on 20/09/2014: The following were present
Appellant: Absent. Respondent: Mr. P A Deshmukh CPIO through VC
The appellant was given an opportunity to participate in the hearing, however, he is absent. At the outset the CPIO explained that he could not attend the hearing scheduled for 20/08/2014 as no notice was received. He informed that the appellant has been arrested by the police and is presently under their custody. The CPIO further stated that the information sought by the appellant [viz. copies of telegrams] are not available as no telegram was received but 13 complaints were lodged against him and copies of the complaints (along with annexures) are readily available and will be mailed to the appellant.
As stated by the CPIO copies of the complaints received against the appellant should be supplied to him within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Ramesh Tukaram Diwate v. BSNL in File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/001669+001703/6049