Information about Biotechnology Co-ordination Committees for hazardous microorganism /Genetically engineered organisms - CIC: Hearing notice was returned undelivered; Appellant should have updated his current address; PIO to provide a revised reply
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Provide the date from which the State Biotechnology Co-ordination Committees (SBCC), constituted under sub-rule (5) of rule 4 of the Rules for the Manufacture, Use/ Import/ Export and Storage of hazardous microorganism /Genetically engineered organisms or cells, 1989, are functioning in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
2. Provide copies of the proceedings relating to the constitution of the SBCCs in the above States for the period from 01-01-2001 till date.
3. Provide the date from which the District Level Committees (DLCs) constituted under sub-rule(6) 4 of 1989 Rules are functioning in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has provided the misleading information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that a suitable reply was not given to him. He also submitted that he was not aware of the hearing, on checking the hearing notice delivery it was seen that the same was returned undelivered despite the fact that the same was sent to the address as available in the second appeal. The appellant should have updated his current address to the Commission. Be that as it may, the Commission informed the appellant that the case will be decided on merits based on the records available. The CPIO submitted that a suitable reply was provided vide letter dated 12.03.2019. On a query, the CPIO explained that he is not aware whether SBCCs and DLCs are in place and active in the 10 states.
Based on a perusal of the record, it was noted that the CPIO vide letter dated 12.03.2019 had provided a point-wise reply. The FAA vide order dated 26.04.2019 disposed of the first appeal and concurred with the CPIO’s reply.
The CPIO vide written submissions dated 29.05.2021 reiterated the contents of the reply dated 12.03.2019 and the FAA’s order dated 26.04.2019. The appellant in his second appeal submitted that, there is no clarity as to whether SBCCs and DLCs are in place and active in the 10 states, for which the appellant had sought for information however, the CPIO has shied away from providing information for reasons best known to him and the Appellate Authority also gave an evasive reply and failed to give directions to the CPIO to provide the information sought for by the appellant.
He further submitted that the information given by the FAA in para no. 3 of his letter dated 26.04.2019 has no relevance to the information sought for by him.
He also submitted that a suitable reply was not given in respect of points no. 1 to 8 of the RTI application and that vague replies were provided in respect of points no. 9 and 10 of the RTI application.
In the light of the above, the CPIO is directed to provide a revised reply explaining in detail to the appellant the issues that were informed during the hearing within 10 days from the date of receipt of the order. The appellant is advised to inform his updated address to the respondent to enable them to send the revised reply at the correct address so that he receives the information.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: M Nagaraju v. Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change in File no.: - CIC/MOENF/A/2019/137843, Date of Decision: 01/06/2021