Clarifications regarding the validation of appellant’s M.Com degree done from the Maduraikamaraj University was sought - CIC: PIO had no justification to explain the inordinate delay in providing a reply to the appellant; Strict warning issued to the PIO
The appellant through his RTI application sought clarifications regarding the validation of his M.Com degree done from the Maduraikamaraj University.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing: The appellant submitted that he has not received any response from the CPIO till date. The CPIO submitted that after receipt of the CIC’s hearing notice, a reply has been provided to the appellant on 06.05.2019 through email. On an enquiry by the Commission whether any other reply was provided to the appellant or not, the CPIO submitted that no other reply has been provided to the appellant and he has been assigned the duty as CPIO only from 24.07.2018 and before that the duty was assigned to Ms Smiti Bhadani.
From a perusal of the relevant case records and considering the submissions of both the parties, it is an admitted position that no reply has been provided to the appellant apart from a recent reply dated 06.05.2019 which was also sent to the appellant via email only. On a perusal of the reply dated 06.05.2019, it is found to be proper. However, the CPIO had no justification to explain the inordinate delay in providing a reply to the appellant. This shows that the respondent authority adopted a very casual and callous approach in handling the RTI application. It is, therefore, abundantly clear that RTI matters are not being given the right attention as required under law, which clearly reflects the disrespect being shown towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself.
The CPIO is directed to resend the reply dated 06.05.2019 to the appellant by speed post within 03 days from the date of receipt of this order under intimation to the Commission. The Commission expresses its displeasure at the casual and callous approach adopted by the PIO in not responding to the RTI application, whatsoever may be the reasons. A strict warning is issued to the present CPIO, Shri Ajay Kumar and the then CPIO, Ms Smiti Bhadani for failing in their statutory responsibility under the RTI Act in not providing any reply to the appellant within the stipulated time frame. They should remain careful in future while handling RTI matters and in case such a lapse is repeated in future, more stringent action will be taken against them. The present CPIO is directed to serve a copy of this order to the then CPIO, Ms Smiti Bhadani, Education officer, for her information.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Y S Somayajulu v. University Grant Commission (UGC) in Decision no.: CIC/UGCOM/A/2017/182670/00580, Date of Decision: 06/05/2019