Information regarding the certified copies of form along with enclosures submitted by KBDAV Senior Secondary School for the purpose of Affiliation with the Board - CIC: No response was provided within the mandatory period of 30 days; Provide free of cost
O R D E R
The Complainant vide his RTI application sought information on 06 points (i to vi) regarding the certified copies of form along with the enclosures submitted by KBDAV Senior Secondary School, Sector-7-B, Chandigarh for the purpose of School Affiliation with the Board, report of inspection for the last 05 years of all affiliated school in Chandigarh, and other issues related thereto. The CPIO, vide letter dated 21.03.2017 provided a point-wise response to the Complainant. Dissatisfied with the response of the CPIO, the Complainant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 22.05.2017 while concurring with the response of the CPIO, directed him “to provide more precise information to the applicant to bring clarity on the information sought within 07 days of passing the order.”
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Complainant: Mr. Pawan Kumar Sharma through VC;
The Respondent remained absent during the hearing. Mr. Aman, Network Engineer NIC studio at Panchkula confirmed the absence of the Respondent. The Complainant reiterated the contents of his RTI application and stated that vague and ambiguous responses were furnished by the Respondent. He however acknowledged the receipt of the letter from CBSE, New Delhi dated 29.04.2017 seeking a fee of Rs.2/- per page for 40 pages of information to be furnished to him. It was contested that since the reply was received beyond 30 days, no fee could be deposited by him. Drawing attention to Section 7(6) of the RTI Act, 2005, it was prayed that the information sought should be provided to him Free of Cost.
As regards the plea of the Appellant regarding disclosure of information, free of cost, the Commission observed that no response was provided to the Appellant within the mandatory period of 30 days from the date of RTI application, hence the information should indeed be provided to him, free of cost. In this context, the Commission referred to the following observation of the Hon’ble High Court of Chattisgarh in its decision in WP (C) No. 353 of 2015 dated 04.11.2015:
“7. A careful reading of the provisions contained in Section 7 makes it clear that the stage of providing information free of cost would occasion only when the PIO fails to pass an order disposing of the application by rejecting the same within 30 days or in other words, when the PIO fails to take up application for taking decision in the matter within 30 days, he has to provide information free of cost, but in case where the PIO has passed an order within 30 days and the first appellate authority set aside the order and directs providing of information, occasion for providing information free of cost would not arise. It would be different if the first appellate authority itself directs the PIO to provide information free of cost. But in the case in hand, the first appellate authority has not directed the petitioner to provide information free of cost. Once the application is considered and disposed of under Section 7, applicability of outer limit of 30 days would have no application and any further action in the matter has to be decided in terms of the order passed by the first or second appellate authority.”
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission directs the Respondent to provide information sought by the Complainant within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order, free of cost.
The Complaint stands disposed accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Pawan Kumar Sharma v. Central Board of Secondary Education in Complaint No.:- CIC/CBSED/C/2017/140614-BJ, Date of Decision: 31.08.2018