The date when the self-contained note from the CBI in respect of preliminary enquiry report received from the CBI to MCI regarding irregularity in the appointment of the appellant along was denied U/s 8(1)(h) – CIC: Provide it; PIO cautioned for delay
The appellant filed an RTI application dt. 07.10.2013, seeking information regarding the preliminary enquiry report received from the CBI to MCI regarding irregularity, if any, found in the appointment of the appellant along with the supporting documents. On not receiving any reply from the CPIO, the appellant filed first appeal. The FAA did not dispose of the first appeal.
The appellant stated that no information was provided for the last two years, but the same has now been provided vide letter dt. 27.03.2015. He stated that the information provided on Point 4 is not satisfactory. He stated that information has been denied on Point u/s 8(1)(h), which is incorrect. He referred to the Delhi High Court’s decision in W.P. (C) 295 & 608/2011 and stated that facts of both the cases are similar and that the respondent authority’s contention that disclosure of the preliminary enquiry report of the CBI would have a bearing on the proceedings going on in MCI does not satisfy the requirement of showing that disclosure of such information would impede the pending investigation. He stressed upon the fact that the CBI has already remanded the matter back to MCI, after its preliminary finding and the same should be provided. The respondent stated that the enquiry is pending in the Vigilance Div. of MCI, as on date, after the same has been received from CBI. He stated that disclosure of the same would affect the proceedings of the pending investigation before the Vigilance Div.
Interim Decision: 31.03.2015
In F. No.CIC/YA/A/2014/000830, the Commission directs the CPIO to furnish written submission, within one week of receipt of this order, clearly justifying as to how disclosing the information sought by the appellant would impede the ongoing investigation of the MCI u/s 8(1)(h), after which the Commission shall pass a final order.
Written submission dt. 18.04.2015 has been filed by Shri A.K. Harit, Dy. Secy./PIO. It is stated therein that the matter relating to the termination of the Appellant as Secretary in the O/o MCI by the Board of Governors is sub-judice in the Ld. CAT, New Delhi bearing O.A. No. 1256/2012.It is also stated therein that the CBI, after conducting preliminary enquiry, has forwarded the same to MCI and has asked CVO, MCI to conduct an enquiry and fix responsibility. He has stated that the CVO is probing into the matter. It is also stated therein that the appellant reference to the judgement in WP(C) No. 295 & 608/2011 dt. 03.06.2011 is not applicable in the present case. He has gone to state that the disclosure of the CBI Report under RTI would make it a Public Document, which would be counter-productive for the ongoing probe. He has stated that, thus, the information has been denied u/s 8(1)(h).
On perusal of documents, the Commission finds that the CPIO vide his reply dt. 27.03.2015 has already provided information on Points 1 to 3, 5 & 6 to the appellant. As for information on Point 4, the appellant has sought only the date when the self contained note from the CBI in respect of preliminary enquiry no. 1(A)2012-DLI was received in MCI. The PIO in his submission has stated that the CBI Report cannot be provided to the appellant as an enquiry is being conducted by the Vigilance Dept. in the matter. The appellant is not seeking the CBI report in the instant case, it is only a date that the appellant seeks on Point 4, for which the Commission does not see any reason as to why the same should be denied or how it will impede or interfere with the ongoing probe against the appellant. The question of invoking 8(1) (h) does not apply here, as the appellant has merely sought dates and information which can be replied to in Yes/No.
The Commission, therefore, directs PIO to provide information on Point 4 to the appellant within two weeks of receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. As for the delay caused in providing this information, the respondent, during the last date of hearing, had explained that the RTI applications of the appellant were mistaken to be related to the CAT proceedings and thus, the same could not be replied to. The PIO, however, is being cautioned to be careful and strictly adhere to the provisions of the Act, in future. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Dr. Sangeeta Sharma v. Medical Council of India in F. No.CIC/YA/A/2014/000830