Copy of rules under which army officer would be liable to disciplinary action for filing direct complaints against superior officers was denied u/s 8(1)(h) - CIC: provide a copy of the guidelines relating to the period of retention of the video recording
Vide RTI dt 29.3.13, appellant had sought information relating to provision of filing direct complaints against superior officers for their misdeeds to Army Chief, Defence Minister etc and provisions of misconduct in CCS (Conduct) Rules if complaint is sent directly. Also function of CCTV cameras installed in the Workshop and related issues.
2. An appeal was filed on 6.5.13 3. PIO vide letter dt 22.5.13, referring to the RTI, informed appellant that information cannot be provided u/s 8(h) due to security measures.
4. Submissions made by the appellant were heard. Appellant submitted that Lt Col Sudhir Behl, officiating General Manager, P&A vide his letter dt 8.3.13 had informed the appellant that he should desist from writing letters to higher authorities in future as the same is in contradiction of CCS (Conduct) Rules 1965 and appellant would be liable to disciplinary action. Vide his RTI, the appellant has sought a copy of the rules under which he would be liable to disciplinary action. Appellant also wanted to know certain information regarding functioning of CCTV cameras installed at the main gate. In the absence of the public authority, their views could not be ascertained.
5. The Commission finds that the decision of the PIO in denying information to the appellant u/s 8(h) is misconceived and shows a total ignorance of the provisions of the RTI Act. Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; relates to disclosure of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders. No grounds have been listed for the same. The RTI Act stipulates a response from the PIO within 30 days from date of receipt of the RTI and for the AA to respond once an appeal has been filed. In the instant case, the PIO has responded well after the stipulated timeline and the FAA has failed to provide a response. Both officials are cautioned to ensure that provisions of the RTI Act are adhered to, in letter and spirit. The Commission also takes a serious view of the fact that representatives of the public authority failed to attend the hearing.
6. The Commission directs the PIO to provide to the appellant a copy of the CCS(Conduct) Rules referred to by Col Sudhir Behl in his letter dt 8.3.13 and to provide a copy of guidelines, if any, relating to the period of retention of the video recordings, within ten days from date of receipt of the order. The appeal is disposed of.
Central Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Sanjay Shankar Jadhav v. 512 Army Base Workshop in File No.CIC/LS/A/2013/001558/RM