Complaint was filed with the PIO, Rajya Sabha Secretariat seeking the compliance of the DoPT’s guidelines dated 15.04.2013 regarding proactive disclosure as per Section 4 of RTI Act - CIC: Provide a copy of the Action Taken Report
1. Shri Maniram Sharma filed an online complaint with the CPIO, Rajya Sabha Secretariat seeking the following information on compliance by Public Authority (through a focused and specific reply on points 122) with DoPT’s guidelines dated 15.04.2013 on Section 4 of RTI Act:
1) All Public Authorities shall proactively disclose RTI applications and appeals received and their responses on the websites maintained by Public Authorities with search facility based on key words,
2) Ensure that websites’ disclosures are complete, easily accessible, technology and platform neutral and in a form which conveys the desired information in an effective and USER FRIENDLY MANNER.
3) Orders of the public authority SHOULD BE UPLOADED ON THE WEBSITE IMMEDIATELY after they have been issued.
4) Websites should have detailed directory of key contacts, details of officials of the Public Authority.
5) Information must be presented from a user’s perspective, which may require rearranging it, simplifying it etc.
6. Every public authority must endeavour to integrate the information mentioned in these subclauses while preparing voluntary disclosure materials.
7. All government officers have to follow laid down office procedure manual or the other rules which give details of how representations, petitions and applications from citizens must be dealt with.
8. The challenge is to present a simplified version of the decision making procedure that is of interest to a common citizen.
9. In the event of a public authority altering an existing decisions making process or adopting an entirely new process, such changes must be explained in simple language in order to enable people to easily understand the changes made.
10. Laying down individual responsibility for providing the goods and services (WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DELIVERY/IMPLEMNTATION AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPERVISION) .
11. Data about records that have been digitized may be proactively disclosed on the respective websites, excluding those records/files/information that are exempted under Section 8.
12. Action Taken Report on the compliance of these guidelines should be sent, along with the URL link to the DOPT and Central Information Commission soon after the expiry of the initial period of 6 months.
13. Proactive disclosure should be done in local language so that it remains accessible to public.
14. All discretionary/nondiscretionary grants/allocations to state governments/NGOs/other institutions by Ministry/Department should be placed on the website of the Ministry/Department concerned.
15. Website should contain all the relevant Acts, Rules, forms and other documents which are normally accessed by citizens.
16. Information must be presented from a user’s perspective, which may require rearranging it, simplifying it, etc.
17. The exceptional circumstances when such standard decisionmaking processes may be overridden and by whom, should also be explained clearly.
18. Citizen Charters which are mandatory for each central Ministry/Department/Authority are good examples of vehicles created for laying down norms of performance for major functions and for monitoring achievements against those standards.
19. Funds released to various autonomous organizations/statutory organizations/ attached offices/ Public Sector Enterprises/ Societies/NGOs/ Corporations etc. should be put on the website on a quarterly basis and budgets of such authorities may be made accessible through links from the website of the Ministry/Department.
20. Every public authority must endeavour to integrate the information mentioned in these subclauses while preparing voluntary disclosure materials. The challenge is to present a simplified version of the decision making procedure that is of interest to a common citizen.
21. Decision making chain should be identified in the form of a flow chart explaining the rank/grade of the public functionaries involved in the decision making process and the specific stages in the decision making hierarchy.
22. Funds released to various autonomous organizations/ statutory organizations/ attached offices/ Public Sector Enterprises/ Societies/ NGOs / Corporations, etc. should be put on the website on a quarterly basis and budgets of such authorities may be made accessible through links from the website of the Ministry/Department.
2. In his online first appeal to the FAA, (date not available in file) the complainant stated that the PIO has given false information about compliance with OM dated 15.04.2013 of DOPT on suo moto disclosure and that the PIO has confirmed compliance with most of the items but the website shows that not even a single item has been complied with. The complainant also stated that the PIO has failed to advise dates of such compliance. The complainant requested the FAA to direct the PIO to comply fully with the OM and furnish ATR to CIC and DOPT under intimation to him. The FAA vide his letter date 27th February, 2014 informed the complainant that the information provided to him is in accordance and in compliance with Section 4 of the RTI Act, 2005.
3. The complainant Shri Maniram Sharma attended the hearing through video conferencing. The respondent Shri Mukesh Kumar, CPIO and Under Secretary and Shri Rajeshwar Singh, LDC, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs were present in person.
4. The complainant submitted that information provided by the CPIO was incomplete, misleading and false. The complainant further submitted that as regards information on point No. 12, the PIO had to send an action taken report on the compliance of these guidelines along with URL link to the DoPT and CIC after the expiry of the initial period of six months. In view of this, the complainant desired that the PIO should provide evidence in support of his reply.
5. The respondent submitted that information was provided to the complainant vide letter dated 24.12.2013. The respondent further submitted that FAA vide order dated 27.02.2014 had upheld the decision of the CPIO. The respondent stated that as regards point No. 12 Action Taken Report on this point has been sent to DoPT and CIC in September, 2013.
6. The Commission directs the CPIO to provide a copy of the Action Taken Report on the compliance of the guidelines of DoPT OM dated 15.04.2013 to the Commission as well as to the complainant within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
7. The complaint is disposed of. Copy of decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Maniram Sharma v. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Decision No.CIC/RM/C/2014/900171/SB/