Destruction of records by the Punjab State Information Commission
The Punjab State Information Commission had passed a Resolution No. 3 in its 13st meeting of the full commission of the State Information Commission (SIC), Punjab held on 27.07.2012 at 3.00 P.M. under the chairmanship of Shri R.I.Singh, Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab in Item No.3, The Punjab State Information Commission (Destruction of Judicial Records) Office Order 2011.
"The minutes dated 26.07.2012 of Sub-Committee constituted by the Commission to overview destruction of record was placed before the Commission.
The Commission noted that record of appeal / complaint cases has not been destroyed since inception of the Commission. Consequently, old files have piled up without any record room or a regular Record Keeper. The available space with the Commission is extremely limited. It was also noted that the Central Information Commission and some of the State Information Commissions regularly undertake the exercise to destroy old records.
On consideration of the matter, the Commission decided that it would be desirable not to further delay destruction of record, which has fallen due for destruction. The Commission, therefore, directed that periodic exercise to weed out / destroy old records should be under taken, in accordance with the Destruction of Judicial Records Office Order, 2011.
To overcome the shortage of staff to undertake this exercise, the Commission resolved that the required manpower may be hired on a purely temporary basis for short periods through the service provider, with the approval of CIC."
It is feared that the vital original judicial record of the orders passed by the commissioners will be destroyed. This could result in the stalemate in future for the facts that:
- The minutes dated 26.07.2012 of Sub-Committee constituted by the Commission to overview destruction of record are not put on the website of the Commission.
- The record has not been digitised in the form in which it actually exits in the files.
- The record that is in digital form is in word docs and can be fiddled with and changed at will. In a recent case going in the Hon'ble P&H High Court, commission has admitted fiddling with its order, without giving Notice to the parties concerned, to suit its own convenience.
- That there are no rules framed or followed in managing and destroying the record and it is being done at will.
- No Public Notice has been issued about the intention of the Commission to destroy the record and no public objections have been invited and disposed of by the commission before actually destroying the record.
There may be other such reasons and fears that this destruction of record may lead to. This matter needs to be taken up effectively with the Commission.
Surendera M. Bhanot [email@example.com]