A complaint was made to the CM regarding the black money being generated in the undervaluation of the properties in Delhi & loss of revenue to the Govt - CIC: this application is one of the best in the interest of fulfilling the objectives of the RTI Act
Observation: One of the Best RTI Applications
The appellant is present. The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Lalit Mohan, SDM (HQ), Mr. MPS Rawat, NT.
2. The Appellant through his RTI application dated 28.08.2013 had sought information with respect to his representation dated 10.08.2013 which was sent to Hon’ble C.M – How to curb black money in property transactions and prevent corruption Viz
i) Date of receipt of his representation by the office
ii) status of its progress
iii) Detail of the Official who handled the representation and the action taken by them
iv) If No action, then the reason for the same, etc.
3. PIO vide his letter dated 23.09.2013 requested the appellant to meet the PIO and discuss the matter.
4. Being unsatisfied with the information furnished, the appellant preferred First Appeal.
5. FAA by his Order dated 03.01.2014 directed the SDMII to provide fresh reply to the appellant.
6. In Compliance of FAA Order, PIO requested the appellant to visit the office for discussing the matter.
7. Being unsatisfied with the information furnished, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
8. Both the parties made their submissions. The appellant submitted that he had made a complaint dated 1082013 addressed to the Chief Minister of Delhi regarding the corruption and the black money being generated in the undervaluation of the properties in Delhi and loss of revenue to the Government. The Government has kept uniform circle rates all over Delhi, irrespective of the area, with the result the area in which the appellant is living, Kesav Puram, the market rate of an MIG Flat is Rs. 1,40,00,000/ whereas the stamp duty is collected on the basis of circle rates, i.e. Rs. 40,00,000/ thereby losing the stamp duty on the value of Rs. One crore. Similarly, in Narela, the value of a flat is just Rs.15 lakhs, but the Circle rate is as high as Rs.37 lakhs, on which the stamp duty is assessed. Hence in Narela, there are no buyers for the flats.
9. On the other hand, the respondent officer, Mr. Lalit Mohan, SDM (Hq) submitted that the appellant’s complaint contained allegations on the undervaluation of the properties in Delhi. The Government has constituted a Committee namely, Committee on Revision of Circle Rates 2014, and his representation was placed before that Committee. The respondent officer also admitted the anomaly pointed out by the appellant regarding the circle rates and submitted that the Government may soon set right this anomaly.
Section 27 of the Indian Stamps Act deals with the undervaluation of the properties. A new section 47A has been inserted on 2392014 by amending the said Act, by which the Collector of Stamps has the power to assess the real value of the property, when the document is referred to him and enhance the same, if he considers there is undervaluation.
10. The Commission finds this RTI application is one of the best in the interest of fulfilling the objectives of the Right to Information Act. The Commission also found a relief after hearing plethora of misused RTI appeals filed by disgruntled employees or those facing disciplinary actions or caught red handed taking bribe, or facing challenge from wives for their cruelty. Most of these are guided by self interest or private grudge or motivated by revenge or intended to harass and never with any public interest. A simple and ordinary person, Mr S P Manchanda is in fact, not seeking any information from the public authority but making a very constructive suggestion after pointing out how much of revenue the Government was loosing every day because of the indifference and delay in developing a rational valuation of land policy.
11. This RTI application is in its own way a small but effective suggestion to curb growth of black money and increase the state revenue with so many positive effects. He has approached the Chief Minister of Delhi with suggestion to curb black money and prevent corruption in property transactions in Delhi. He wanted to know the action taken on his representation. As usual the PIO gave some lifeless, routine reply saying you have just made a suggestion and did not ask for any information. Then advised him to come and inspect the files. The appellant called it vague and incomplete. In spite of the specific direction by the first appellate authority, information was not provided. In second appeal he sought a thorough enquiry against concealing of information, which he alleges to be mala fide. Appellant expressed disgust at the way he was made to take several trips to the offices in futility. He also sought costs for causing him mental agony and penalty for denial of information.
12. The appellant suggested how futile to decide uniform circle rates for entire Delhi without distinguishing the high value at one place and low value at another center. He gave examples how the state was losing lots of revenue every day which also generate huge black money. The PIO who was present at the hearing appeared responsive and completely agreed with agonised presentation of the appellant.
13. The Commission finds in many cases before it that several public authorities are escaping accountability under RTI by showing value of the land given to them by the Government as ‘commercial value’ which is an open lie as every one knows the real value would be thousand times more than what it was shown to be. Several hospitals, sports clubs, Cricket Associations etc are claiming the land was given to them at commercial rate, simply because the state does not have any document to say that they have properly assessed the value of the land in a particular area. Because of this every selfish person or profit motivated corporate body is trying to take prime government land using the corruption as an easy tool and making huge profits at the cost of public exhequer and imposing burden on common consumers. All this is facilitated by the absence of minimum governance at the higher level where the powers that be prefer to relax and refuse to decide what is value of the land.
14. The Commission exercising its powers under Section 19(8)(a) 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 take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including (i) by providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form; (ii) by appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be; (iii) by publishing certain information or categories of information; (iv) by making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records; (v) by enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials; (vi) by providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4; require the top officer of the public authority, Chief Secretary of Government of Delhi, to take a serious look into the highly significant suggestions to decide the circle rates of land value in Delhi and for that initiate inquiry or if any inquiry is already ordered as informed by the PIO, expedite the proceedings of that inquiry.
15. The Commission directs the respondent authority to provide a copy of the report of the Committee on revision of Circle rates to the appellant, and also upload the same on the Web site, as and when report is ready. The appeal is disposed of accordingly with above observations. The registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the Chief Secretary and the Administrator of Delhi.
Citation: Sh. S.P.Manchanda v. SDM(HQII) GNCTD in File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000576