Disclosure of information cannot be considered while deciding a complaint u/s 18
The appellant had filed complaints against the Chief Minister of Delhi and other functionaries alleging corruption on their part. Later, he filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking information regarding his complaints. In the first case, he did not receive any response from the Public Information Officer (PIO) in time and he filed a complaint with the CIC. Belatedly, the PIO responded to him with the plea that the CBI was no longer obliged to disclose any information under RTI having been placed in the second schedule to the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In the second matter, the PIO responded within the stipulated time period and denied the disclosure of any information on a similar ground.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) perused the records and observed that the RTI application was transferred by the Delhi Police to the Anti - Corruption Branch (ACB), CBI. The PIO of this branch sat over the application for quite some time and transferred it to his counterpart in the AC 1 branch very late. The PIO of the AC 1 branch responded to the appellant nearly 3 months beyond the stipulated period and denied the information. The CIC held that the responsibility for the lapses lies with the PIO of the ACB as had he transferred the RTI application within five days of receiving it from the Delhi Police, the PIO of the AC 1 branch could have responded much earlier. Under section 20(1) 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, refused 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 impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the RTI Act, the Commission issued a show cause notice to the PIO, ACB to show the reasons as to why the penalty should not be levied on him for the delay. The Commission did not pass any order regarding the disclose of any information in the case in view of the Supreme Court ruling that the CIC cannot direct disclosure of information while considering a complaint case under section 18 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Complaint and appeal are separate proceedings under the RTI Act and are required to be dealt with separately under the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Vivek Garg v. Central Bureau of Investigation in File No. CIC/SM/C/2012/000841 & 842
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1027
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission