Details of Patta & Settlement Records for a Plot was denied stating files are missing - CIC: provide the copies of FIR(s) & affidavit stating that the relevant files remain untraceable; take necessary action for maintenance of a retention schedule
The appellant sought information regarding details of names on whom the Patta and Settlement Records for the Plot comprising in Town Survey No. 40, RS No.239 pt. Patta No. 2387 in Block No. 30, Ward-D of Revenue village No. 40, Puducherry exist along with the relevant documents based on which the name of Shri Shyamsundar Jhunjhunwala, the appellant’s grandfather, was deleted therefrom.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Both the parties are present and are heard through Video Conferencing. The appellant filed an RTI application dated 17.07.2013, seeking the above information. On not receiving any reply from the PIO within prescribed time, appellant filed first appeal. The FAA, while dealing with the issue in great detail, found the PIO’s reply in order.
The appellant stated that originally the patta was registered in his grandfather’s name and one other. Subsequently, his grandfather’s name was deleted and Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry was included as Joint Pattadar on 30.05.1986. Thereafter, sub-division was carried out and a separate patta was issued on 20.12.2005. The appellant stated that he is seeking information as a civil suit for wrongful possession of the said property is pending since the year 1989, but till date no record has been provided to him. On query by the Commission whether any such record was furnished in the court of law, when the suit was filed or during the pendency of suit, the PIO replied in the negative. The PIO stated that the dept. provided the information, as available on record, in response to the RTI application, to the appellant on 13.08.2013 and that the FAA disposed of first appeal on 03.01.2014. He further stated that many files are untraceable till date, out of which the relevant files pertaining to the appellant’s case are also missing, due to a series of thefts in the year 2012 and due to shifting of their office. On query by the Commission whether any formal complaint was lodged against the missing files, the respondent replied in the affirmative. On further query whether a copy of the same was provided to the appellant, the respondent replied in the negative.
On query by the Commission whether the patta/mutation/sub-division record is a permanent record or not and whether the public authority maintains a retention schedule, the respondent stated that patta records are a part of permanent record and that no record retention schedule is maintained. The appellant stated that the Opposite Party in the civil suit is contending that they are the owner of the patta and that it was propounded by the appellant’s grandfather as a benami transaction. The appellant alleged that the same is untrue and that his grandfather had originally purchased the patta from the HUF funds. The respondent stated that the appellant can get his grievance redressed u/s 23(1) of the Puducherry Settlement Act, 1970 for necessary correction in the name of the present registered holder. The appellant requested the Commission that the procedure for the same may be provided to him, to which the respondent readily agreed.
After hearing the parties and on perusal of record, the Commission finds that no concrete information has been provided to the appellant, by the respondent authority, due to nonavailability of the documents. The PIO& FAA, however, should have provided the copy of the complaint lodged/FIR, to the appellant, for substantiating their claim of the missing files. The Commission, therefore, directs PIO/Tehsildar to provide the copies of complaint lodged/FIR(s) along with an affidavit clearly stating that the relevant files remain untraceable on Points 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 9 till date, to the appellant within two weeks of receipt of the order, under intimation to the Commission. Further, any additional information on the remaining points of the RTI application dt. 17.07.2013 shall also be given to the appellant within two weeks of receipt of the order. If there is no additional information, the same shall also be intimated to the appellant.
As for the procedure to get the appellant’s grievance redressed u/s 23(1) of the Puducherry Settlement Act, 1970 for necessary correction in the name of the present registered holder, the PIO is directed to provide him necessary information, within two weeks of receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. Further, the District Collector/FAA is directed to take necessary action for maintenance of a retention schedule u/s 19(8)(a)(iv) of the RTI Act, 2005, for effective record keeping in the public authority. A compliance report shall be furnished before the Commission within 8 weeks within the receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shri Abhishek Jhunjhumwala v. District Collector, Revenue Dept., in F.No. CIC/YA/A/2014/000282