Copies of Registered Family Settlement Deed of 1985 were denied as the document was not pasted on the file - CIC: Registration Office failed in its basic function of keeping the original documents properly; Behaviour condemned & Notice for penalty issued
Other scathing remarks of the CIC
· The FAA (District Magistrate) did not bother much about this basic problem and ordered to provide information as per available records within 15 days. This shows most unresponsive and uncaring attitude of a senior officer about a serious issue of record keeping which is essential function of the authority. It is a pathetic bureaucratic order which helps in harassing the people without serving the purpose of their office but serving the officers to escape liability of informing. The Commission condemns this kind of negligence on the part of the Public Authority and First Appellate Authority in missing out certain documents which are supposed to be part of the record for hundreds of years
· Commission recommends the Public Authority to take disciplinary action against PIO and any other officer who is responsible for keeping the original documents safe and secure.
· The Public Authority to explain the policy of providing a remedy in such circumstances.
The appellant is present. The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta, UDC and Mr. Mokhtar Mahto, Record Keeper, Office of Sub RegistrarII, GNCTD, Delhi.
2. The appellant filed an RTI application on 25.2.2013 seeking status report of his application for supply of certified copies of Registered Family Settlement Deed dated 8.4.1985. The PIO replied on 8.4.2013. Being unsatisfied with the information provided, the appellant preferred First Appeal on 18.4.2013. FAA gave order on 1.7.2013, directing the PIO to provide the information within 15 days. Being unsatisfied with the information provided, the appellant preferred Second Appeal before the Commission.
3. Both the parties made their submissions. The PIO was not present. Instead a record keeper was sent without any authorization. Commission directs PIO to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed on him for not appearing before the commission in spite of specific notice that no officer less than the rank of PIO shall be deputed.
4. The UDC representing the PIO says that generally, the Original Registered Agreement Sheets will be pasted in the file but regarding this RTI application, such a document was not pasted in 1985. He does not know the reasons for not pasting. Hence he cannot provide the certified copies. The UDC also explained that they have conveyed the same in writing to the appellant, which the appellant agreed to have received the same. But he is not satisfied with this response.
5. The basic and essential function of Registrar is to keep original registered documents in the Register safely and based on this original document, they have to issue certified copies. The relevant provisions of the Registration Act are quoted as under: Registration Act 1908, Section 17 mandates the compulsory registration of certain documents. Section 17(1)(b) says the nontestamentary instrument,
(1) The following documents shall be registered, if the property to which they relate is situate in a district in which, and if they have been executed on or after the date on which, Act No. XVI of 1864, or the Indian Registration Act, 1866, or the Indian Registration Act, 1871, or the Indian Registration Act, 1877 or this Act came or comes into force, namely:2 (a) instruments of gift of immovable property; (b) other nontestamentary instruments which purport or operate to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest, whether vested or contingent, of the value of one hundred rupees, and upwards, to or in immovable property;…. Family settlement deed is a nontestamentary instrument which declare or limit or extinguish rights of the family members in immovable properties. Section 17(2)(viii) deals with partition deeds which also should be registered. Family settlement also is in the kind of partition which shall be registered. If a document shall be registered under the Registration Act 1908, it shall be the legal duty of the office to maintain that register properly preserving the original After perusal of the above provisions of the Registration Act, 1908, the Commission observes that generally it is the job of the Sub Registrar Office to have original registered sheets pasted or preserved in the register.
6. The appellant in this case has shown the Photostat copy of family settlement dated 8th April 1985 between Shri Pyarelal and Shri Ramkishan, Shri Ramdhari sons of Pyarelal. From Photostat copy one can understand that it was properly signed, sealed and registered. The Record Dealing UDC presented the register, wherein such original documents are pasted, to explain that the sought document was not pasted at all. The representative is not sure as to whether that was the only register in which all such documents are pasted or any other register also present in the office. The Commission has no hesitation to say that Registration Office was irresponsible in keeping the original documents if it was really not kept and secured properly. It amounts failure in its basic function. The PIO chose not to be present and also not to give any written explanation about what was alternative mechanism available if some officer/staff member was negligently or deliberately not fixed this original document in the register properly though it was registered. The Record keeper has no clue as to what to do in such a situation. This is the hopeless situation prevailing in Registration Office where one cannot get a document of 1985.
7. The PIO did not explain the policy or guidelines or mechanism that his office follows in such situation. The District Magistrate, who was first appellate authority, supposed to be senior officer, did not bother much about this basic problem and ordered to provide information as per available records within 15 days. This shows most unresponsive and uncaring attitude of a senior officer about a serious issue of record keeping which is essential function of the authority. Commission observes it is a pathetic bureaucratic order which helps in harassing the people without serving the purpose of their office but serving the officers to escape liability of informing. The Commission, therefore, condemns this kind of negligence on the part of the Public Authority and First Appellate Authority in missing out certain documents which are supposed to be part of the record for hundreds of years.
8. The Commission directs the PIO to show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed for negligent response to the RTI application of appellant on an essential function of his authority and for not taking any effort to initiate alternative reconstruction of lost original document or providing any remedy to the appellant, who paid fee of registration as charged by them with a hope that his document could be retrieved whenever needed, and also explain the dereliction of duty.
9. The Commission, therefore, recommends the Public Authority to take disciplinary action against PIO and any other officer who is responsible for keeping the original documents safe and secure, and also to explain the policy of providing a remedy in such circumstances within three weeks from the date of receipt of this order.
4. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Shri Ram Kumar Gupta v. SubRegistrarII in File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000110