The First Appellate Authority can act on the RTI application directly without receiving any fee
The appellant sought some information regarding the examination conducted by the UPSC for the post of Asst. Provident Fund Commissioners in 1997 and 1998. On not receiving any reply from the PIO, the appellant filed an appeal with the First Appellate Authority (FAA) enclosing a copy of the RTI application. The FAA held that the Public Information Officer (PIO) did not receive any such application and advised the appellant to make a fresh application along with the required application fee so that the desired information may be provided.
View of CIC
The respondent submitted that the PIO had not received the RTI application claimed to have been sent by the appellant. They further submitted that even though the appellant had enclosed the copy of the RTI application along with the first appeal, he had not forwarded the application fee and, therefore, technically, his application was not valid. The respondent suggested that if the appellant would send a proper RTI application along with the application fee, they would provide the desired information, if available.
The Central Information Commission observed that since the PIO had not received any RTI application, he cannot be held responsible for not providing the information in time and advised the appellant to send his application to the PIO along with the application fee so that it could be processed and available information disclosed. The Commission also stated that if the Appellate Authority/CPIO had acted on the copy of the RTI application enclosed by the appellant even without the application fee, it would have saved both the UPSC and the appellant, the bother of going through the entire second appeal and the attendant costs. The Commission observed that in future, the PIO/Appellate Authority would weigh the relative merits of being overtly technical/legal in such matters.
The applicant should send the RTI application through speed post or registered post and retain the proof of dispatch, to ensure that he can prove that the RTI application has been received by the public authority. The Public Authorities should also weigh the consequences of taking a decision on mere technical grounds.
Citation: Shri Ram Niwas Bairwa v. Union Public Service Commission in File No. CIC/SM/A/2011/000607
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/165
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission