Deeming the FAA to be the PIO, the CIC issued a show cause notice for imposing penalty - CIC directed the Chairman, Governing Body, Laxmi Bai College, to provide information pointwise to the appellant & submit a compliance report in person to the CIC
The appellant is present. The Public Authority is represented by Dr.Pratyush Vatsala, Principal, Lakshmi Bai College.
2. Appellant by his RTI application had sought for copy of the minutes of Building Committee meetings held since 01/08/2012 till date, copy of the various building works done payments made along with the associated documents like sanction letter/estimates/quotations, work orders etc and information about how much OBC fund has been spent for the building. PIO by his letter dated 24.03.2014 denied the information under section 8 (1)(a). Being unsatisfied, appellant filed First Appeal. FAA by his Order dated 22.05.2015 denied the information claiming section 8 (1)(a). Being unsatisfied, appellant approached Commission.
3. Appellant by his RTI application had sought for copy of the diary no. LBC/1360/07 (acknowledgement book). PIO replied on 13.02.2014 stating that the peon book is not traceable and when it is traced the same will be provided. Being unsatisfied, appellant filed First Appeal. FAA by his Order dated 14.03.2014 disposed of the appeal providing the same reply as that of the PIO. Being unsatisfied, appellant approached Commission.
4. Appellant by his RTI application had sought copy of charge sheet issued to the SO(Admin) Mr Prem Kant, copy of reply by Mr Prem Kant to the charge sheet, copy of statements of all the witnesses in the whole inquiry process etc. PIO by his letter dated 26.09.2014 denied the information under section 8 (1)(a) and (j) of RTI. Being unsatisfied, appellant filed First Appeal. FAA by his Order 22.10.2014 also denied the information under section 8 (1)(a) and (j) of RTI. Being unsatisfied, appellant approached Commission.
5. Both parties made their submissions. The respondent officer/Principal has submitted that the appellant herself is the PIO of their College, but as she is appearing before the Commission as an appellant, she (Principal) is representing the Public Authority and she is also the FAA for the College under the RTI Act. She further submitted that after she had taken over as the Principal of the College, from her predecessor, Ms. Veena Gautam, who had since retired, she appointed the appellant as the PIO of the College as she was very knowledgeable in RTI rules. She also admitted that as all these three RTI appeals were dealt during her predecessor’s time, she, in fact requested Ms. Veena Gautam to attend the hearing today, but she declined in writing saying that there was no need for her to attend the hearing as she claimed to have furnished the available information to the appellant already. The respondent officer further submitted that as far as the Peon book is concerned, the same is yet to be traced and one Mr. Shashi Kant, Daftary is the custodian of the same and she had already issued memo to him to produce the same.
6. On the other hand, the appellant submitted that she suffered a lot during the tenure of Ms. Veena Gautam, as Principal of the college and she never gave any information on her RTI applications. She was marking the appellant as absent, even though she was present in the college credited holidays in to her leave account, depriving her of all her leav by these unjust markings. Her compensatory leave record was also missing. As far as the copy of the charge sheet issued to the SO(Admin), Mr. Prem Kant, she needs the same to expose corruption prevailing during Ms. Veena Gautam’s time, as the said SO(Admin) was allegedly conniving with the Principal. She also needs the minutes of the Building committee as requested in her RTI application.
7. The Commission having heard the submissions and perused the record, holds that the exemption under section 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; of the RTI Act, sought to be applied by the Public Authority, is not applicable in this case and hence directs the respondent authority/Principal to furnish the information free of cost to the appellant as sought by her in the above three appeals within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.
8. The Commission further directs the then Principal/FAA, Ms. Veena Gautam, deeming her to be the PIO, to show cause why penalty should not be imposed on her for obstructing the information, for missing the records pertaining to the appellant resulting in loss to the appellant. The Commission also directs Mr. Shashi Kant, Daftary to show cause why penalty should not be imposed on him for missing the record pertaining to the appellant. Their explanations should reach the Commission within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission finds that the entire management of the College is denying the information which is supposed to have been disclosed voluntarily under Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; of the RTI Act, besides making wrong claims that records were not traceable. The Commission, therefore, directs Mr. Sanjeev Singh, Chairman, Governing Body, Laxmi Bai College, to provide information pointwise to the appellant within 20 days from the date of receipt of this order and submit a compliance report in person to the Commission in its next hearing on 06042016 at 2.30 pm, failing which the Commission would be compelled to initiate penalty proceedings under Section 20 of the RTI Act.
9. The above three appeals are adjourned to 6th April, 2016 at 2.30 PM.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Nirmal Kanta v. Laxmi Bai College in Case No.CIC/RM/A/2014/003953SA CIC/RM/A/2014/003972SA CIC/CC/A/2015/000738SA