Information pertaining to alleged use of substandard material like steel, water, cement & other construction material in a particular Ward was sought - CIC: All the respective PIOs to furnish information by offering inspection of complete records
CIC/SDMCE/A/2017/170935 (South MCD)
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant, filed an RTI application dated 07.09.2016, seeking information pertaining to alleged use of substandard material like steel, water, cement and other construction material in Ward No. 106. He sought information under five queries about the construction which had taken place in ward no. 106 between 01.08.2015 to 01.08.2016 and inter-alia sought following…
1. List of construction orders, names of contractors, purpose of contract etc.
2. Copy of bills passed, copies of work order, copy of M.B., copy of scheduled etc.
The PIO vide reply dated 10.11.2016 observed that since the information sought was voluminous in nature. Accordingly, the Appellant was requested to scrutinise the records at the office of the Respondents and obtain relevant copies upon payment of necessary charges. Being aggrieved by the delay in communication of reply by the PIO, the Appellant filed the First Appeal dated 03.01.2017 seeking appropriate action against the PIO and information to be provided free of cost to him. The FAA vide order dated 18.05.2017 observed that the PIO prepared reply on 04.11.2016 and the same was dispatched on 24.11.2016. He cautioned the PIO to maintain timeline carefully and directed the PIO to send a revised reply within 10 days, free of cost. Alleging non compliance of the FAO, the Appellant approached the Commission.
CIC/IAFCD/A/2017/140934 (Irrigation & Flood Control Deptt)
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed RTI application dated 27.10.2016 seeking information on four points regarding action taken by the Buradi Haroda, Flood Department for the period of 23.07.2015 to 25.10.2016. He sought information pertaining to core cut samples of raw material used and samples of non destructive testing material, names of J.E, A.E. E.E. posted in the Flood Control Department along with their date of selection etc. The PIO dated 29.11.2016 stating that since the information sought was voluminous in nature, the Appellant was requested to scrutinise the records at the office of the Respondents and obtain relevant the copies upon payment of necessary charges. The Appellant was dissatisfied with the information provided to him. Hence filed the First Appeal dated 25.01.2017. During the hearing of First Appeal on 27.03.2017, the Applicant did not appear for the hearing and hence the appeal was dismissed in default.
CIC/NDMCK/A/2018/166026 (North Delhi Municipal Corporation)
Information sought and background of the case: The Appellant, filed an RTI application dated 06.03.2018, seeking information on three points regarding the list of work orders carried out by the Works Department M-II between 01.01.2017 to February 2018 and certified copy of sample test report. The PIO vide letter dated 15.03.2018 transferred the RTI to E.E, M-II Works Department, Karol Bagh Zone. As per the record, no reply was received from the PIO. The Appellant filed First Appeal dated 18.06.2018 whereupon the FAA vide order dated 16.07.2018 directed the PIO/EE(M)-II, KBZ to provide the complete information to the Appellant within 7 days free of and also warned the PIO to be more careful in future. Feeling aggrieved over the non-compliance of FAO, the Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
All the parties are present and heard. Considering the common nature of queries, the present Appeals were taken up together. The Appellant claims to be a public spirited person interested in conducting citizen audit of the various construction works done by the Respondent public authorities. He alleges that either the civil works are not done at all contrary to the claims of the departments or if they are done, inferior quality materials are used for constriction. In order to satisfy himself, he has lodged the present RTI applications. Per contra, the respective PIOs express no reservation to any public scrutiny. There only concern is the disproportionate diversion of resources which may be occasioned in course of answering the present RTI applications which seek voluminous information. The Appellant also pressed for a direction to obtain relevant core cutting samples in accordance with the RTI Act.
The RTI Act is a tool to instil transparency and accountability in the functioning of the State. Without expressing any opinion on the allegations levelled by the Appellant, the Commission finds no impediment in directing disclosure of information sought. However, such a disclosure has to be reasonable which may not create undue strain on the resources of the public authority. Accordingly, the Commission directs all the respective PIOs to furnish information to the Appellant by offering inspection of complete records. The PIOs shall offer inspection to the Appellant on a mutually convenient day and time. The Appellant shall be entitled to obtain upto 50 pages of information of his choice against each RTI application free of cost. Copies beyond 50 pages shall be furnished upon payment of usual charges. In addition, the respective PIOs shall also furnish samples of construction materials used from the sites mentioned in the RTI applications. Samples shall be taken from the spots indicated by the Appellant subject to technical feasibility.
The respective PIOs shall comply with the present decision within 4 weeks of receipt and submit a report of compliance before the Commission by 22.07.2019. The respective FAAs shall also ensure compliance of the directions of the Commission.
The Appeals are disposed off in aforesaid terms.
Y. K. Sinha
Citation: Shri Deepak Yadav v. West Zone, SDMC and others in CIC/SDMCE/A/2017/140935 CIC/IAFCD/A/2017/140934 CIC/NDMCK/A/2018/166026, Date of Decision: 03.06.2019