Due to the unpreparedness exhibited at hearing, the CIC was compelled to postpone the hearing - CIC: Chief Commissioner of Customs, Delhi Zone is instructed to revisit the provisions of the RTI Act in his jurisdiction & issue directives to the concerned
O R D E R
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 02 queries (A and B) regarding the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in Wordline Tradex Pvt. Ltd. dated 25.07.2016 wherein a direction for issuing detailed set of instructions in consultation with CBEC regarding the detention of imported goods was made, file no. in which the aforesaid instructions had been dealt with, copy of the consultations made with CBEC, copy of the instructions issued, current status regarding issue of aforesaid instructions and their implementation, etc.
The CPIO vide its reply dated 02.11.2016 stated that neither were they one of the Respondent in the subject writ petition nor were they concerned with the detention and examination of goods in question. The necessary action with respect to directions contained in Para 29 of the said decision were specifically and categorically for Respondents 1, 3, 4 and 5 collectively termed as “Customs” Dissatisfied with the response, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its Order dated 15.12.2016 stated that Appellant was partially satisfied by the CPIO response, and for other matters CBEC was the competent authority to issue instructions. Therefore, the requisite information in those matters could not be addressed by their office.
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Appellant: Mr. R. K. Jain;
Respondent: Mr. Narinder Pal Singh, AC/CPIO;
The Appellant reiterated the contents of his RTI application and stated that CPIO skirted the issue and did not provide satisfactory information. The Respondent present at the hearing remained clueless, ignorant and illprepared to answer the Commission in this matter. He excused himself on the pretext that he had joined the present position recently and that he was not fully well versed with the facts of Page 2 of 2 the case. It was argued that the Air Cargo Complex Import Division was the appropriate authority dealing with the subject matter and that they should have been called to furnish appropriate response. When his attention was drawn to the letters from their division to the Appellant as also the adequate intimation given to him to identify and locate the said information, no satisfactory reply was offered. It appeared that he had no knowledge of the provisions of the RTI Act 2005 which was unpardonable for an officer of his seniority. The Appellant laid emphasis on the contradictory response given by the CPIO / FAA in the matter and desired details of the information sought. Attention of the Commission was drawn to the decision of the CIC in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000981 + 962 dated 21.12.2012 in support of his argument. As noted above, the Respondent was unprepared to answer any of the queries raised by the Appellant / Commission.
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties and in the light of the unpreparedness exhibited by the Respondent present at the hearing, the Commission was compelled to postpone the hearing by four weeks. The DR is directed to issue notice to the CPIO Import as claimed by the Respondent at the earliest. In the meanwhile, the Chief Commissioner of Customs, Delhi Zone is instructed to revisit the provisions of the RTI Act 2005 in his jurisdiction and issue directives to all the concerned officials to sincerely look at the preamble of the RTI Act 2005 and its various provisions for the ease and convenience of the information seekers.
The Commission also instructs the Respondent Public Authority to convene periodic conferences/seminars to sensitize, familiarize and educate the concerned officials about the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities. The Appeal stands adjourned for hearing at the next date.
Citation: Mr. R.K. Jain v. The Commissioner of Customs, New Delhi in Appeal No.:-CIC/CCCDZ/A/2017/101575-BJ-Interim, Date of Decision : 07.03.2018