Information regarding foreign travels undertaken by the officers of NGT - PIO pleaded that they are genuinely feeling difficulties in furnishing the information & do not have any staff to assist them - CIC: show cause why penalty should not be imposed
2. Appellant through his RTI application sought information on the following points :
A) Please provide date-wise details of tickets purchased/procured for the air travel/rail travel by NGT from 01.01.2013 till the date of providing the information.
B) Please provide copies of bills received from Balmer Lawrie either for purchase/procurement of tickets in credit/cash from 01-01-2013 till the date of providing the information and provide certified copies of those bills and list of bills which has not been paid so far
C) Please provide certified copies of all tour proposals/requests whether approved or rejected, tour orders, tour programmes, itineraries and protocol request in relation to Hon’ble Chairman, members, for others and the staff members of NGT and others and the staff members of NGT and others including on the eve of Founding day from 01.01.2012 to the date of providing the information, etc
1. PIO requested the complainant to come for inspection for Point No. A to G as the information sought was dispersed on a large number of files, For Point No. H provided the detail of the list of files for inspection and for Point No. I requested the complainant to deposit the requisite fee for 5 Pages information.
3. Being unsatisfied with PIO reply, the appellant made First Appeal on 22.11.2014.
4. Complainant has approached the Commission under Sec 18 of RTI Act on the ground that the PIO has deliberately and malafidely not provided correct and complete information as per the RTI application.
Proceedings Before the Commission:
5. Both the parties made their submissions. The Complainant submitted that the CPIO has deliberately and maliciously not provided correct and complete information as per the RTI application. Under Section 19((5) of the RTI Act, the CPIO is bound to furnish the information and not furnishing the same is deemed refusal under section 7(2) of the RTI Act. ‘Justice must tame whom mercy cannot win’. The complainant said he cannot agree with the pleading of the CPIO that they are badly infrastructured, as he has personally seen their office, how much advanced infrastructure they have been provided with. The DOPT’s Office Memorandum dated 11-9-2012 mandates every Public Authority to disclose all the travel expenditure made by their officers on the official website. The complainant also disputed the contention of the respondent that the information sought by him is dispersed over a large number of files. The CPIO can take the information from the Balmer Lawrie and provide him but he never made any effort to provide complete information. Offering of inspection by the CPIO with prior notice of 15 days cannot be accepted. The complainant also submitted that the CPIO wrote him that if he is satisfied with the inspection, the complainant cannot ask for the copies, which is also not acceptable to the complainant. The CPIO not only required him to give 15 days notice, but also required him to specify the files for inspection, which is very irresponsible on the part of the CPIO. The complainant also mentioned that there are about 7(seven) FAA orders in which the CPIO did not file report after seeking time for himself. On the other hand, the CPIO made oral and written submissions dt.2.5.2015 and pleaded that they are genuinely feeling difficulties in furnishing the information to the complainant in the format he wanted. They have brought three bags of files to show to the Commission. They do not have any staff to assist them. After doing lot of home work, they are now able to upload the information regarding foreign travels undertaken by the officers of NGT into their website. They are not currently working compiling on the domestic visits of the officers, which will also be uploaded into the public domain.
6. Having heard the submissions and perused the record, the Commission directs the CPIO to furnish para-wise reply to the complainant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and also directs him to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed on him for not providing complete information to the complainant. His explanation should reach the Commission within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order.
7. The Commission orders accordingly.