Grievance against public authority - Refusal of medical benefits under the ‘NBCC Post Retirement Benefit Scheme’ lies outside the ambit of the RTI Act
Facts of the case:
2. The Appellant filed his RTI application dated 30.05.2012 with the CPIO, M/o Social Justice and Empowerment, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi seeking information against 2 points. In the first point he referred to a press note, mentioning that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India approved a Rashtriya Senior Citizen Parishad and the said Parishad will function under the control of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, and sought to know -
“what are the aims and objects and category of persons to whom the benefit of this Parishad are available and the system through which a Senior Citizen can approach to this Parishad.”
In the second point the Appellant made a mention of an appeal dated 02.04.2012 filed before the Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, followed up by reminder dated 12.05.2012, and sought to know the action taken on the same.
3. The CPIO replied to this application vide his letter dated 19.06.2012 enclosing therewith a copy of Resolution regarding constitution of National Council of Senior Citizens.
4. The Appellant, being aggrieved by the reply of the CPIO, filed his first appeal before the Appellate Authority on 29.06.2012 which the Appellate Authority decided vide his order dated 19.07.2012 holding that reply given by the CPIO is complete and satisfactory. He also recorded that para 2 and 7of the Resolution clearly mention the aims and objects of the Council. The details of Members of the Council are mentioned in para 5 of the Resolution.
5. The Appellant thereafter, being aggrieved by the order of the Appellate Authority, filed the present appeal before the Commission.
6. During the hearing, the Respondents inform the Commission that the Appellant here is aggrieved by refusal of certain medical benefits to him as per the ‘NBCC Post Retirement Benefit Scheme’. They explain that the scheme of medical benefits under ‘NBCC Post Retirement Benefit Scheme’ was implemented on 28.07.2011 for the employees of NBCC who had opted for VRS. However, the Appellant had taken VRS from NBCC on 31.01.2000 that is prior to the date of implementation of said scheme. Therefore the benefits under said scheme could not be extended to the Appellant. Aggrieved with this, the Appellant had submitted a representation dated 02.04.2012 to the Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment for grant of medical benefits to him and his wife under the said scheme of NBCC. Since he did not receive any response to this representation, he filed the present RTI application enquiring about the action taken on the same. The Respondents state that in order to fulfill the Appellant’s demand here they would need to implement the said scheme retrospectively which is not possible. While reacting to the first point of query of the Appellant about the aims and purpose of the National Council of Senior Citizens, the Respondents inform that they have provided a copy of resolution to the Appellant in this regard which clearly mention the aims and objective of said council. As for the second point, the Respondents inform that they had separately responded to the Appellant’s representation/appeal dated 02.04.2012 vide their letter dated 14.05.2012. They, however, admit that this fact has not been communicated to the Appellant in response to his present RTI application.
7. The Appellant, on his part, states that he wants to know as to how the National Council of Senior Citizens can resolve his grievance and enable him to get medical benefits under the ‘NBCC Post Retirement Benefit Scheme’. The Respondents clarify that the National Council of Senior Citizens is an advisory body which can only give its advice to Central and State Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to welfare of Senior Citizens and enhancement of their quality of life. It (Council) does not consider individual case. The Respondent, however, assures the Appellant that they will pursue his case with the Ministry of Urban Development. The Appellant then complains that the Respondents have not provided any information to him about the action taken on his representation / appeal to Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment.
8. Having heard the submissions of both parties and perused the records, the Commission observes that the Appellant here has certain grievance against the public authority regarding refusal of certain medical benefits to him under the ‘NBCC Post Retirement Benefit Scheme’ which cannot be considered here as it lies outside the ambit of the RTI Act. Therefore no relief can be granted to the Appellant in this regard. As regards the information regarding the action taken on the Appellant’s appeal dated 02.04.2012 to Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide to the Appellant a copy of the reply which they had separately sent to him in response to his representation/appeal in question.
9. Appeal is disposed of with the above directions, which are to be complied with within 1 week of receipt of this order.
Citation: Shri S.P. Gupta v. Ministry of Social Welfare & Empowerment in case of No.CIC/SS/A/2012/003063