Details of permission given to ply in waters other than Indian Coastal Waters to Crafts registered under Coastal Act - information was not readily available, appellant was advised to inspect the related records - CIC: provide whatever is readily available
1. The appellant through his RTI application dated 16.7.2012 sought to know the details of permission given to ply in waters other than Indian Coastal Waters to Crafts registered under Coastal Act by Nautical Branch of DG Shipping between 2005 to 2010. The CPIO vide letter No. 36-NT(3)2012 dated 17.8.2012 informed the appellant that requested information, as defined in the Act, was not readily available in the Nautical Branch of DG Shipping. The Nautical Branch shall provide any specific information, if requested for. Alternatively, the appellant was advised to visit the Nautical Branch of DGS on any working day and to go through the files dealing with MS Notice No. 03 of 2008 (where such subject matters are dealt with) as the Nautical Branch did not have information/records/register/data as requested in the RTI application.
2. Aggrieved with the reply of the CPIO, the appellant preferred first appeal on 27.8.2012 before the FAA. The FAA vide order No. 36-NT(3)/2012 dated 25.9.2012 upheld the reply of the CPIO. The appellant was informed that under the provisions of the RTI Act, information cannot be generated or extracted as requested by him. The appellant was advised to seek any specific information or feel free to visit DGS and go through concerned files.
3. During the hearing the CPIO states it is a fact that vessels registered under various Acts such as the Inland Vessels (IV) Act, 1917 (as amended), the Coasting Vessels (CV) Act, 1938 (as amended) or the Harbour Craft Rules (framed under Major Ports Act, 1963) are not allowed to operate on high seas. Unlike, sea-going vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping (MS) Act, 1057 (as amended), such smaller vessels normally operate within sheltered IV/Coastal waters. However, for purpose of delivery from shipyard or for location from one place/port of operation to another place/port of operation or for final voyage to demolition, such non MS Act registered vessels are allowed to conduct one single voyage under the provisions of the MS Notice No. 03 of 2008.The MS Notice No. 03 of 2008 is a public document and such permissions are issued under the authority of the DGS directly. The allegation of the appellant in his second appeal that vessels registered under the Acts other than the MS Act are given permission by the DGS to operate on high seas is totally incorrect and misleading. The appellant has not sought case specific information, neither exercised his right by visiting this office to see the records on the subject cases but preferred to file second appeal before the Commission. Under the provisions of the RTI Act, the information cannot be generated, collected from other sources or extracted as requested by the appellant and since such records are not required to be maintained under any Act or Rule provisions, searching for requested information from various allied offices would cause undue and avoidable burden to already over burdened office with meager resources.
4. In view of the above submissions, the Commission observes that the appellant has not asked for specific information. The information asked for by him involve creation of information by the Public Authority. The Commission is of the view that the under the provisions of the RTI Act the appellant is entitled to get information as is held by or under the control of public authority, the respondent CPIO is not expected to create information. However, the Commission hereby directs the CPIO to provide whatever information which is readily available, to the appellant free of cost within two weeks of receipt of this order. The matter is disposed of on the part of the Commission with above directions.
Citation: Shri Manoj Arya v. Directorate General of Shipping in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/003607