Compensation of 20,000/- awarded as Public Authority destroyed the critical record
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India seeking information in respect of a particular insurance policy. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided some information. During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that the name of his late wife Smt. Varuna Gupta was wrongly written as Smt. Aruna Gupta on the policy bond. He further submitted that the correction of the name was not carried out for about one year. However within one day of the death of the insured, the correction was carried out. He also alleged that the form 155 was not sent by the insurance company to the employer of his late wife and therefore, the premium which was required to be deducted every month from the salary of the insured was not deducted. The PIO stated that form 155 was dispatched by them to the school of the insured. The Commission directed the PIO to submit the date of dispatch and proof of dispatch of form 155 and all records pertaining to change of name of the insured from Aruna to Varuna on the policy bond, before the Commission for inspection.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent stated that proof of dispatch of form 155 has been destroyed as they are required to maintain this category of documents for the period of three years only. The respondents produced a copy of the form 155 duly signed by the insured and stated that no notice was issued to the school authorities when it was discovered by the development officer/ agent that the monthly premium amount was not being remitted by them. The respondent further clarified that the death claim was preferred in June 1999 whereas the intimation of lapse in the policy was done on 13 November 2000. The records submitted by the PIO also showed that the appellant had moved the matter before the insurance ombudsman 8 March, 2001 and the public authority was required to maintain all records until the resolution of the matter.
View of CIC
The Commission inspected all the documents submitted by the PIO and noted that all the documents were available in the docket except for proof of dispatch of form 155 to the employer of the insured. The Commission held that the respondent has failed to maintain a critical record and has in fact destroyed the same thereby denying fair opportunity to the appellant resulting in tremendous mental and physical strain and anguish to him as well as financial detriment. 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; of the RTI Act, the Commission awarded a compensation of Rs. 20,000/- to the appellant .
Citation: Mr. Ramesh Chand Gupta v. LIC of India in Adjunct to Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2012/000909
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1024
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