Information about civilian contractors employed in Defence establishments - CIC: It is evident that the CPIO & First Appellate Authority are unaware of the provisions of the RTI Act; PIO to provide the information failing which penalty will be considered
Appellant has sought the following information:
1. Appellant stated that several regimental shops are allotted to civilians in the army establishments ignoring the instructions of QMG and Defence Ministry of year 1972, 1976 and 1998 by the Commanding Officers of the Units. How many civilian contractors are at present employed in the Defence establishments? Which are those establishments?
2. Appellant stated that no civilian contractors are allowed to run regimental shops in the Indian Defence establishments from 1998 and it is only for Ex-servicemen and war widows then why still many of the establishments are employing civilians to run the regimental?
3. In DSC Centre, Cannanore an Ex-servicemen contractor was allotted a tailoring shop and he was working there for six years under three Commandants. He was sincere in his job and was well recognized by all. The present Commandant, after his arrival throw him out alleging untrue reasons and allowed this tailoring shop to a civilian who was there for more than six years. The civilian was given temporary work for two/three months and after eight months it was given to him for a period of one year which is a permanent without following the procedures as well as it is illegal. Appellant wants to know what action have been taken against the Commandant for not following the procedures. Why this civilian is running the regimental shops for last 7/8 years?
4. The DSC Commandant has given three barracks for the civilian contractor who use them for his own interest and the civilians workers of more than 15 are staying in the camp itself with all support of Commandant. The civilian workers are using separate barracks to sleep as well the food/liquor is provided in the soldiers mess. Is this allowed in Army? What about the security of a defence establishment?
5. When the soldiers of DSC Centre is having dirty and filthy accommodation and many of them sleeps in the floor, why this civilian contractor is so pleasing to the Commandant?
6. He wants to know about tailoring shop which is clinched from the Ex-serviceman has been awarded for one year now permanently to the civilian.
Grounds for second appeal :CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present: Appellant: Raghunathan KP through VC at Kannur.
Respondent: Lt Col T Sreenivasulu, PIO HQ Kerala & Karnataka Sub Area, Bangalore through landline (08022863218) of NIC Bangalore. Appellant mentioned that during last three years he has been provided only partial and incorrect information by the CPIO. His demand is to get information in respect of all units under Kerala and Karnataka Sub Area whereas he has been given only partial information that too pertaining to some units only. He was very critical of the CPIO and the first Appellate Authority who have not taken his RTI applications seriously. He wanted action including penalty against the CPIO. On getting notice from CIC for hearing on 25.04.2016, PIO has hurriedly framed an interim reply to the appellant mentioning that remaining information will be provided in due course. The PIO was at pains to explain department’s position and promised that all the available information will be provided to the appellant within 30 days.
It is evident that right from the CPIO to the First Appellate Authority are unaware of the provisions of the RTI Act. PIO was told that RTI applications and its response are to be dealt as per the RTI Act and not like any other departmental correspondence. There are time frames given in the Act and the same has to be strictly adhered to. There is no provision in the Act that when notice is received from CIC for hearing Second Appeal, he can prepare a hurried response and send to appellant for satisfying him. PIO mentioned during his deposition that he will provide full information to the appellant within 30 days. He is directed to do so failing which penalty will be considered. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
(Divya Prakash Sinha)
Citation: Shri Raghunathan K.P Quintessence v. HQ Kerala & Karnataka Sub Area in File No.CIC/RM/A/2014/900434/DP