Copy of letter dated 24/05/2011 sought - after much efforts, the respondents were able to locate the letter which is actually dated 26/05/2011 - CIC: for imposing penalty, PIO should have obstructed the supply of the information with malafide intent
Copy of letter dated 24/05/2011 sought - after much efforts the respondents were able to locate the letter which is actually dated 26/05/2011 - as per the record preservation policy, the maximum period for which the information relating to registered post is preserved is 18 months - CIC: for imposing penalty, PIO should have obstructed the supply of the information with intent or should have acted consciously and deliberately in a manner so as to block the provision of the information
1- Copy of letter dated 24/05/2011 addressed to Chief Postmaster General.
2- Action taken- details of action taken on the letter dated 24/05/2011, by the concerned authority.
3- A list/document of the registered and speed post to the applicant’s address with the sender’s address from the year 2009 to till date.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: No information has been provided even after First Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing held on 02/08/2013: The following were present Appellant: Ms. L. Mary D. Mello through TC 9844341560 Respondent: Mr. G.N Lakshmi Prasad CPIO through VC 09448574637 The CPIO stated that the appellant had asked for a copy of her letter dated 24/05/2011, however, after much efforts they were able to locate the letter which is actually dated 26/05/2011 and a copy of the said letter along with the action taken thereon has been sent to her by registered post on 31/07/2013. As regards item 3, in which the appellant had requested for the details of the registered/speed post addressed to her from the year 2009, he stated that it is not possible to cull out the information unless the appellant gives the docket number and other particulars. The appellant stated that due to unforeseen circumstances she is unable to appear for hearing and requested for adjournment. Interim Decision notice dated 02/08/2013: As requested by the appellant it is decided to grant adjournment. The hearing is adjourned for 06/09/2013 at 04.00 PM.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing on 06/09/2013: The following were present
Appellant: Ms. L. Mary D. Mello through VC 9844341560 Respondent: Mr. G.N Lakshmi Prasad CPIO through VC 09448574637 The appellant stated that as the respondents are unable to cull out the information requested in para 3 of her RTI application they could have at least offered an inspection so that she would have had an opportunity to collect the information needed by her. She further stated that by not doing so the CPIO has not fulfilled his obligation hence, penal action under Section 20 of the RTI Act should be initiated against him. The CPIO pointed out that as per the record preservation policy the maximum period for which the information relating to registered post is preserved is 18 months and therefore information from 2011 onwards is only available and if the appellant so desires she is free to inspect the relevant records. The CPIO pointed out that the appellant in her RTI application had sought information relating to the action taken on her letter dated 24/05/2011 whereas the fact is that there is no such letter available on record.
Notice: After hearing submissions of both the parties the Commission directs the CPIO to permit the appellant to inspect the relevant records relating to her RTI application dated 16/01/2012 and also allow her to take photocopies thereof, duly attested, free of cost, up to 15 pages within 15 days from the date of the receipt of this order. As regards the appellant’s plea for initiating penal proceedings against the CPIO, it will be apt to quote the law as propounded by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in its decision dated 02/02/2012 (W.P.(C) 766/2010 & CM No. 1611/2010) while quashing the penalty order passed by the Commission:-
“The aspect of levy of penalty on the PIO is governed by Section 20 of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act). It states that the CIC may at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal impose penalty on the CPIO, where he is of the opinion that the CPIO has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information. The crux of the said provision is that the PIO should have obstructed the supply of the information with intent or should have acted consciously and deliberately in a manner so as to block the provision of the information.”
In the matter at hand, it cannot be said that the CPIO acted consciously and deliberately with intent to deny the information sought by the appellant. Imposition of penalty on the CPIO, therefore, would not be justified. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Ms. L. Mary D. Mello v. Department of Posts in File No. CIC/BS/A/2012/000720/3363