FAA summoned for fixing the responsibility for not supplying the information
The appellant sought information in relation to a person working as Assistant Engineer in MCD, like his date of Birth, date of joining, copy of his appointment letter, Income Tax Return of last 10 years, details of salary including all allowances, details of RDA pending & issued against him in last 10 years, details regarding his children etc. No information was provided by the Public Information Officer (PIO), SE (I), despite the order of First Appellate Authority (FAA) to supply the available information as per points/ questions asked, free of cost.
During the hearing before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent claimed that a reply was sent to the appellant stating that no information was available. He also admitted that the person about whom the information was sought was working in maintenance division and that the information would be available with AO (Engineering). The Commission observed that the PIO neither sought the assistance nor transferred the RTI application and despite the order of the FAA, no information was provided to the appellant. The Commission directed the PIO to obtain the information and send it to the appellant. 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, a show cause notice was issued to the PIO by the Commission to give reasons as to why penalty should not be levied on him. During the show-cause hearing, the respondent stated that the RTI application was filed with SE (Project) Shahdara South Zone. The PIO further stated that the RTI application was never received in his office and thus, the FAA’s order could not be complied with. After the Commission’s order, the information was sent to the appellant through speed post, but the same was received back in his office mentioning that ‘No such person/firm in this location’.
View of CIC
The CIC observed that the matter had shown a very serious problem in the working of the Public Authority. Under section 18 of the RTI Act, the Commission summoned the FAA and the then PIO to appear before the Commission to explain their actions and to help the Commission to fix the responsibility for not supplying the information to the appellant. The Commission also directed the FAA to bring the PIO, SE (Project) Shahdara South Zone, to the Commission to explain why the RTI application was not replied to. During the second hearing, the PIO and the FAA stated that the RTI application was filed online with SE (Project) and was never received by PIO/ SE-I Shahdara South Zone. Further, due to certain glitches the notice of hearing sent by the FAA also did not reach the PIO. The FAA who was newly posted did not realize that the RTI application had been addressed to SE (Project) who has a separate FAA. The PIO /SE-I stated that when he received the FAA’s order he was unable to implement it since he never had the RTI application. The Commission observed that lack of a proper system within MCD has resulted in the information not been supplied to the appellant and it is difficult to pinpoint responsibility on any one individual officer for this. The Commission dropped the Penalty proceedings and closed the matter.
Citation: Mr. Umesh Gupta v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000353/17770Adjunct-I
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/388
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission