Details of CPIO/FAA of certain nationalised banks was denied by RBI - CIC: U/s 18 of the Act, the Commission cannot direct the respondent to provide information; CIC could not find any malafide intention in obstructing the information to the complainant24 Mar, 2023
O R D E R
1. The complainant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Reserve Bank of India, Colaba, Mumbai. The complainant seeking information is as under:-
1) Name & designation, address, contact details like phone number. Email id of CPIO/FAA of all nationalised bank mentioned in the attached list.
2) Details of Custodian of information or closely connected competent authority regarding below mentioned bank branch attached list as per section 4(1) A, B of RTI Act, 2005.
3) Weblink with location of CPIO/FAA as per section 4(1) A, B of RTI Act, 2005 etc.
2. The CPIO vide letter dated 06-10-2021 had denied the information as sought by the appellant. No first appeal is placed on record. No order of FAO is placed on record. He has filed a complaint before the Commission on the ground that information sought has not been provided to him and requested to direct the respondent to provide complete and correct information.
3. The complainant was not present despite notice. The respondent, Ms. Anitha Venugopalan, Manager and Ms. Uttara Srinivasan, Legal Officer attended the hearing through video-conferencing.
4. The written submissions of the respondent are taken on record.
5. The respondent submitted that vide their letter dated 06.10.2021, point-wise reply/information, as per the documents available on record has been provided to the complainant within stipulated period of time as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
6. The Commission is not adjudicating on furnishing the information to the complainant and therefore, the legal issue to be decided herein is whether there is any malafide of the CPIO which attracts penal action u/Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005. The complainant contested in his complaint that there is a malafide intention on the part of the respondent public authority in obstructing the information. On the other hand, the respondent contended that there was no malafide intention in denying the information. The respondent stated that they informed the factual position in the matter to the complainant on his RTI application and as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
7. The Commission further observed that the complainant has filed a complaint before the Commission under Section 18 of the RTI Act and the Commission, at this stage, cannot direct the respondent to provide information at the stage of adjudicating the complaint. The Commission referred to the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Chief Information Commissioner and another Vs. State of Manipur & Another reported in MANU/SC/1484/2011 : AIR 2012 SC 864; wherein their Lordships have held that “the remedy for a person who had sought information and was refused information, was to make an appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act. Their Lordships have held that the nature of power under Section 18 of the Act is supervisory in character whereas the procedure under Section 19 is an appellate procedure and a person who is aggrieved by refusal in receiving the information which he has sought for can only seek redressed in the manner provided in the statute, namely, by following the procedure under Section 19. Section 7 read with Section 19 provides a complete statutory mechanism to a person who is aggrieved by refusal to receive information. Such person has to get the information by following the aforesaid statutory provisions. Sections 18 and 19 of the Act, serve two different purposes and lay down two different procedures and provide two different remedies. One cannot be a substitute for the other. While holding so, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has clarified the position that an appeal under Section 18 of the Act cannot be filed before the Chief Information Officer. In the instant case, a complaint is filed under Section 18(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person,- (a) who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be; (b) who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act; (c) who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act; (d) who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable; (e) who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act; and (f) in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act. of the Act. In the light of the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the complaint made by the second respondent herein is not sustainable.”
8. The Commission could not find any malafide intention in obstructing the information to the complainant, hence no action warranted under section 20 of the RTI Act, as factual position in the matter has been informed to the complainant within stipulated period of time as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
9. No further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.
10. With the above observations, the complaints are disposed of.
11. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Neeraj Kumar Gupta
Citation: Shri Anand Ramesh Awasarmal v. Reserve Bank of India, Complaint No. CIC/RBIND/C/2021/647148, Date: 09.02.2023