Information regarding disciplinary proceedings against the appellant & an FIR registered by the bank against him, etc. was sought - CIC: all determinations about disclosure of information relating to an ongoing prosecution should be through the Court
These files contain appeals in respect of the RTI applications dated 4.9.2013, 6.9.2013 and 7.9.2013 filed by the Appellant seeking information regarding disciplinary proceedings against him and an FIR registered by the bank against him, together with some related details. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, he has filed second appeals to the CIC in all the three cases.
2. The Appellant stated that the information has been denied by the CPIO by merely stating that the matter is pending in a Court. He prayed for direction to the CPIO to provide the information sought in the three RTI applications.
3. The Respondents submitted that the Appellant was their employee. Disciplinary proceedings were conducted against him because of his involvement in embezzlement of funds. All the necessary documents were provided to him in the course of the disciplinary proceedings, which led to termination of his services in May 2013. The Respondents further submitted that four FIRs were also registered against the Appellant and, on the basis of the same, criminal proceedings are going on against him in a court in Banda.
4. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. In so far as the disciplinary proceedings are concerned, these are already over, resulting in termination of the services of the Appellant. Therefore, we do not agree with the decision of the Respondents to deny the information in this case. Accordingly, we direct the CPIO to facilitate inspection of all the relevant records concerning the disciplinary proceedings by the Appellant, within thirty days of receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. After such inspection, the Appellant should be given photocopies of up to fifty pages of the inspected records, desired by him, free of cost. Photocopies required by him beyond the above number should be given on payment of the prescribed photocopying charges.
5. As for the information sought by the Appellant regarding the FIR filed against him and the investigation/ correspondence concerning the same, we note the submission of the Respondents that four FIRs were registered and have led to criminal proceedings in a court against the Appellant. In this context, we further note the following observations made by the Commission in its decision dated 7.6.2010 on File No. CIC/AT/A/2008/01238:
“ In our view, an information which is evidence or is related to evidence in an ongoing prosecution comes under the control of the Trial Court within the meaning of Section 2 (j) of the RTI Act, which states as follows:“ right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to.....” “The word “under the control of” implies that the information, regardless of which public authority holds it, is under the control of a specific public authority on whose orders alone it can be produced in a given proceeding. In the present case, the material sought by the appellant is undoubtedly related to an ongoing court proceeding and hence it can be rightly said to be under the control of the Trial Court, who alone can decide how the information is to be dispensed. Any action under the RTI Act or any other Act for disclosure of that information to the very party who is arraigned before the Trial Court or to anyone representing that party, would have the effect of interfering with the discretion of the Court, thereby impeding an extant prosecution proceeding.”
6. In the above context, the Commission also noted the following observations of the Delhi High Court in S. M. Lamba vs. S. C. Gupta & Anr.:“This court would like to observe that under the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 once the stage of an order framing charges have been crossed, it would be open to the accused to make an appropriate application before the learned trial court to summon the above documents in accordance with the law.”
7. Taking into account the above, the Commission further stated, “It is, therefore, important that all determinations about disclosure of any information relating to an ongoing prosecution should be through the agency of the Trial Court and not otherwise.”
8. Taking into account the above observations of the Commission, we uphold the decision of the Respondents to deny the information in regard to the FIR.
9. The Appellant has also sought copies of T.A. bills of officials of the bank regarding the travel undertaken by them for investigations against him. The CPIO informed him that the bank does not maintain travel record segregated according to the purpose of travel. In view of the above response, no further action is required in this case.
10. With the directions in paragraph 4 and the above observations, the three appeals are disposed of.
11. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Pramod Kumar Mishra v. Allahabad UP Gramin Bank in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/900241 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/900242 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/900248