Commissioner, MCD directed to digitize the records pertaining to properties
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) seeking details in respect of the sanctioned building plans of his properties. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that the information is not available being very old.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that information is not available with the Public Authority. The appellant submitted that information is required in order to convert his leasehold property to free hold property.
View of CIC
The Commission remanded the matter back to the PIO to recheck the records and put in sincere efforts to trace the sanctioned building plan of the appellant’s property. The Commission held that such permanent records cannot be destroyed by the Public Authority. Under section 19(8)(a)(iv) of the RTI Act, the Commission directed the Commissioner, MCD to issue orders to make necessary changes in the practices of the Corporation in relation to the digitization, maintenance, management and destruction of records. The CIC ruled that the digitization of the records pertaining to properties including information relating to sanctioned plans would facilitate supply of correct and complete information within the stipulated time frame as required under the Transparency Act. The Commission further ruled that an efficient records management system is a prerequisite for an accountable and transparent civic authority and Public authorities must not forget that the true intent and scope of the information access legislation that guarantees the public the right to information will be lost on account of the lack of proper documentation/ digitization of the information, manually or electronically by any Public Authority. The Commission directed the PIO to send a copy of any directions issued in this regard to the Commission.
The records in most of the Municipal Corporations in the country remain in dismal position. Citizens may use this case as a trend setter for ensuring proper record maintenance practice in their respective cities.
Citation: Mr. Om Prakash Gupta v. South Delhi Municipal Corporation in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2012/001562
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1074
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission