Documents relating to the sanctioned plan regarding an unauthorised construction was sought - CIC: the horizontal sanction plan of the third part properties should be provided omitting the internal room arrangements; compensation of Rs.10,000/- granted
Appellant had sought copies of documents related to completion certificate, sanctioned file of P.No. A-1/10, Model Town and related information on six points.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Both the parties are present. Appellant stated that he filed an RTI application dated 20.01.2014 with the PIO, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, seeking information regarding unauthorised construction in respect of Plot No.A-1/10 Model Town - 110009 stating that the construction was not as per the sanctioned plan. He sought files and documents relating to the sanctioned plan, completion certificate, regularisation of property etc. Appellant stated that due to the unauthorised construction, extensive damage was caused to his house. Earlier during the construction he had sent complaint in this regard to the Lt. Governor, Police authorities and concerned MCD authorities. He again filed a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, North DMC on 15.01.2014. He did not get any reply from the CPIO in-spite of the directions of First Appellate Authority (FAA). Respondent PIO, EE (B-II) stated there were two offices of EE (B) and earlier this area was under EE (B-I), and on 05th March, 2014 the said area came under the EE (B-II). RTI application came to him on 31.03.2014 and on the same day he wrote a letter to third party under section 11 of the RTI Act and also intimated to the appellant. Reply came from the owner of A-1/10 Model Town on 09.04.2014 in which he declined to provide any information or any document to anyone. In compliance of FAA order, same was intimated to the appellant on 24.04.2014. On query by the Commission how the public authority referred to by the FAA in his order on 11.04.2014, is still EE (B-I), when the charge was handed over to EE (B-II) on 05.03.14. The Respondent did not have any answer. Appellant stated that reply sent on 24.04.2014 was not received by him. Copy of the same was provided to him during the hearing. Appellant further stated that the house was inspected by a highly qualified Structural Engineer (M. Tech in Structural Engineering) at his request by the Institution of Engineers (India), who opined “The cracking of roof slab has seriously affected the safety of the house. The structural cracks are expected to widen further or new cracks may develop if the earth under the foundation is not yet fully settled, thus making the building at A-1/9 more unsafe. These cracks may be disastrous in the event of an earthquake. The building itself may collapse. The ideal solution would be to demolish and reconstruct the affected portion of the building at A-1/9 which is indeed cumbersome and very costly. Repairs may be attempted by injection grouting with non shrink cement grout by the experts in the field”. The appellant is aggrieved as his house is damaged because of construction on a neighbouring plot and is seeking compensation for the same. Respondent stated that the sanctioned building plan and other information sought in the RTI Application is personal, within the meaning of provision of section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act.
Respondent denied information by invoking section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act on the ground that the sanctioned building plan and other information sought in the RTI application is personal. The Commission is of the view that disclosure of information in relation to unauthorized construction and encroachment does not require clearance from any third party. The Commission, in a number of decisions, has held that when appellant seeks the sanctioned building plan of any third party, public authority should provide the (horizontal) sanction plan(s) of the properties of the Third Party by omitting the internal room arrangements in the plan(s). The external walls with openings and projections should be shown along with the Area Statement for all the floors which has been approved/ regularised. The First Appellant Authority, SE on 11.04.2014 gave clear & specific orders that the PIO/EE (B-I) has failed to provide the requisite information and he directed PIO/EE (B-I) to provide complete and correct information to the appellant as per his RTI application within 15 days from the receipt of order as per provisions of RTI Act. FAA also noted the requirement of the appellant that he wanted copies of the documents related to completion certificate, sanctioned plan of A-1/10, Model Town and related information on 6 points. FAA also noted that there has been no reply from the PIO&EE (Bldg.)/CLZ. No statement from PIO&EE (B) on these accounts has been mentioned by the First Appellant Authority. The Commission observes that the MCD officials did not display any interest in disclosing the information sought.
The Commission directs the respondent to provide complete information in relation to unauthorised construction. As regards to the sanctioned building plan, the Commission directs the respondent to provide to the appellant the (horizontal) sanction plan(s) of the properties of the Third Party by omitting the internal room arrangements in the plan(s). The external walls with openings and projections should be shown along with the Area Statement for all the floors which has been approved/ regularised. This exercise shall be completed within two weeks of receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
The Commission directs PIO, EE (B-II) and PIO, EE (B-I) /CLZ to submit Written Submissions, latest by 5th September, 2014, to show cause why penalty should not be imposed on him under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, for not providing the information within the prescribed period under the RTI Act. The Appellant has clearly been harassed and has had to file the first and second appeal completely unnecessarily. Because of the inept handling of this RTI Application this has occurred. Harassment of a common man by public authorities is abhorring and legally impermissible. Nothing is more damaging than the feeling of helplessness and specially when a senior citizen is the victim. Many instead of complaining would succumb in such circumstances.
Therefore the award of compensation in such cases is called for in the interest of justice. The Commission awards compensation of Rs.10,000/- to be paid to the Appellant under Section 19(8) (b) of the RTI Act for the loss and detriment suffered by him in getting the information. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Maj. Gen. Baldev Kumar v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation in F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/000943-YA