Disciplinary action recommended by CIC against the PIO for not following their orders
The appellant had filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) seeking information regarding the third party such as the official relationship of the third party with his employer; name of his wife and children; their medical history and details of property against which house building advance was taken by the third party etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the information pertaining to the official relationship of the third party with his employer. However, under section 8(1)(j), the PIO denied the personal details like the name of the wife and children; their medical history and details of property against which house building advance was taken by the third party. The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal filed by the appellant against which the re-approached the Commission.
View of CIC
The Commission denied the disclosure of the information sought by the appellant stating that the Commission does not have the power to review its own decision and no new grounds have been brought forth by the appellant which could perhaps merit such reconsideration.
The CIC, however, observed that the conduct of the PIO in this entire matter was unacceptable. The Commission had directed the PIO to bring before the Commission the record held by the public authority pertaining to the marital status and family composition of the third party. The PIO appeared before the Commission and presented an unattested photocopy of letter addressed to the public authority and signed by the third party pertaining to his marital status and did not bring before the Commission the complete original records in this regard. The Commission chided him for this disregard and wilful disobedience of the Commission’s directions given to him under Rule 11(ii) and Rule 11(iii) of RTI Rules, 2012 and directed the PIO to appear once again before the Commission along with the full and complete record. However after the hearing the PIO took these documents presented before the Commission with him. Subsequently, when this was discovered, the PIO was asked by the registry of the Commission to fax a copy of the very same letter. While acting on this direction, the PIO chose to convey slanted information to the third party who feared the disclosure of his personal information even prior to any decision of the Commission. The Commission held that such actions can only be described as 'mischievous' and unbecoming of a public servant. Under section 20(2) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for disciplinary action against the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under the service rules applicable to him. of the Act, the CIC recommended disciplinary action to be taken against the PIO under the service rules applicable to him.
Citation: Mrs. Archana Sharma v. National Insurance Co. Ltd in Adjunct II Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/003811
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1260
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission