Information about a Joint Commissioner Customs was sought - PIO sought some more time to provide the information - Appellant demanded imposition of penalty for delay - CIC: PIO responded to the RTI query of within 30 days; no further action required
Shri Harinder Dhingra filed an application dated 15th May, 2012 under the Right to Information Act 2005 with the CPIO, New Delhi seeking the following information:
Information about the educational qualification, work Experience and the appointment of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you.
2) Details of promotions of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria from start as a trainee officer or AC whichever is/was applicable, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you.
3) Details of promotions/rejection of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria at present Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you, to the post of Joint
4) Commissioner Customs (I&G) meaning thereby all the records of the Departmental Promotion Committee including file notings.
5) Service record of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you, the places of his postings, duration of stay, positions held in Customs (I&G) Deptt. During his service period.
6) Details of movable, immovable properties owned by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you, and other assets at the time of joining service.
7) Details of movable, immovable properties owned by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs(I&G), New Custom House.
8) Information about the details of cases adjudicated; order passed by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Custom (I&G), New Custom House with you during his service period.
9) Information about the gifts received by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), during his service with you and declared by him as per Service conduct, discipline & appeal rules of Central Govt. as amended from time to time.
10. Details of declaration made by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria,. At present Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G) about the Gifs he received during his service period from Exporters/Importers or third parties including the gifs received on the eve of Dipawali.
11) Detailed Information of any vigilance enquiry, cases, police case pending against Mr. Shubchintan, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, with you.
12) Information whether the Govt. took clearance from CVC, Govt. of India, before promoting Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, to the post of Joint Commissioner Customs(I&G). Please give details. If not, was the CUSTOMS deptt. CVO involved in this exercise. Kindly provide all details including CVO file notings, correspondence regarding this promotion.
13). File noting of the posting of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, to various stations. Were others officers with same qualification and experience of CUSTOMS Dept. considered for the post of Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G) at New Custom House at Delhi ?
14) Confirm whether the mobile phone Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, uses belong to same. Kindly provide copy/ies of his mobile for last one year.
15) Salary & perks of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, Joint Commissioner CUSTOMS (I&G), New Custom House, New Delhi ? How much does he cost to Govt. annually. Please provide details.
16) Does Mr. Satyendra Mathuria use the official vehicle? If yes, please give me information about its log book.
17) Full details of Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, official trip abroad along with financials details.
18). Full details of Mr.Satendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs(I&G), New Custom House,Delhi, with you, has ever been charge sheeted by you and let off on minor penalty.
19) Information whether Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, has a court case pending against him. Please provide details.
20) Information whether Mr. Satyendra Mathuria kin hold any positions in your Department. Please provide details.
21) Information about Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, at present posted Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G), New Custom House, New Delhi with you, leave taken in last five years and also whether he informed you of his holidays abroad.
22) Copy/copies of complaints received against Mr. Shubhchintan, at present posted as Joint Commissioner Custom (I&G), New Custom House, New Delhi with you, during his service along with action taken/enquiry conducted by CBEC Board/CVO.
23) Has any complaint of corruption/ fraud/ embezzlement etc. been registered against Mr. Satyendra Mathuria by any person/ institution during his service period? If yes, then please inform about outcome of the same.
24) Details of complaint lodged and action taken by your office alleging inhuman treatment meted out to very respectable social activist by Mr. Satyendra Mathuria at present Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G) with New Custom House, in his office chambers.
25) Whether Mr. Satyendra Mathuria, Joint Commissioner Customs (I&G) ever filed any complaint against any institute /person which was later found false ? If so, please provide details of action taken.
26) Details of movement of this RTI petition including the details of duration of this application with particular officers/official of yours.
The CPIO vide letter dated 24.07.2012 stated that as point No.,3,10,11,12,17,18,21,22 and 23 of letter dated 15.05.2012 are related to other offices, accordingly, the same were transferred to the respective offices. The information in respect of remaining points cannot be provided to the applicant on the grounds that the information does not fall into the category of “information” as per Section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act. Aggrieved by decision of the PIO, the appellant filed first appeal before the FAA on 01.08.2012. The FAA vide order dated 03.09.2012 stated that the information asked by the complainant is personal in nature and hence cannot be provided under the provisions of Sec 8(1) (j) and 11 of the RTI Act,2005. Not satisfied by the FAA’s order, the complainant filed the present complaint before the Commission on 14.09.2012.
1. The complainant Shri Harinder Dhingra and Mrs.Tamanna Alam, CPIO Asst. Commissioner, Department of Revenue were present in person.
2. The complainant stated that the second appeal has been decided by the Commission and hence his prayer is restricted to imposition of penalty on the CPIO under Section 20 (1) & (2) of the RTI Act for violating the section 7(1) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 5 or the proviso to subsection (3) of section 6, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request under section 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9: of the RTI Act. The complainant stated that the CPIO vide letter dated 14.06.2012 had requested that he may be allowed some time to submit the reply to the RTI queries raised by the complainant. However, by his order date 24.07.2012 the CPIO informed that some of the information cannot be provided to him on the ground that the information does not fall into the category as per Section – 2 (f) of the RTI Act.
3. The CPIO informed that the FAA vide its order dated 03.09.2012, the CIC had held the view that the information asked by the applicant is personal nature and cannot be provided under Section – 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. and 11 of the RTI Act. The CIC vide its order dated 13.04.2015 had upheld the order of FAA.
4. The Commission heard the submission of both the parties and perused the records. The Commission finds that the CPIO had responded to the RTI query of the complainant within 30 days though no information was provided. Further, the CPIO had sought some more time to provide information. This indicates that the CPIO was making due efforts to provide information to the complainant. Subsequently, the CPIO transferred issues which were related to other offices to offices concerned. Some of the information was not provided as it was third party information and hence could not be provided under section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act. Thus, though, there was delay in providing information to the complainant it could not be established that this was deliberate.
5. In Bhagat Singh Vs. CIC & Anrs. WP(C) 3114/2007, Hon’ble Delhi High Court in its order dated 03.12.2007 held:
“...this Court takes a serious note of the two year delay in releasing information, the lack adequate reasoning in the orders of the public information officer and the Appellate Authority and the lack of application of mind in relation to the nature of the information sought. The materials on record clearly show the lackadaisical approach of the second and third respondent in releasing the information sought. However, the petitioner has not been able to demonstrate that they malafidely denied the information sought. Therefore, a direction to the Central Information Commission to initiate action under Section 20 of the Act cannot be issued...”
6. In view of the above, no further action is required regarding the prayer of the complainant for imposing of penalty and recommendations of disciplinary action on the CPIO.
7. The complaint is disposed of accordingly. Copy of decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Harinder Dhingra v. O/o The Commissioner of Customs, Air Cargo Export, New Custom House in Decision No.CIC/SS/C/12/000873/SB/