Information regarding non-payment of wages and other dues from M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai and M/s. Senyar Maritime Establishment, Dubai - Rules of D.G. Shipping do not apply to foreign flag ships - CIC: provide an explanatory reply
Shri Prakash Chandra Dalabehera, hereinafter called the appellant has filed the present two identical appeals dated 6.2.2012 & 7.6.2012 before the Commission against the respondent Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), Mumbai for not providing satisfactory information in response to his RTI application dated 29.9.2008. The matter was heard through videoconferencing. The appellant was present in person in Commission’s Court Room whereas the respondent were represented by Shri Deepak Shetty, Jt. DG Shipping/FAA at NIC Video-conferencing Facility Centre, Mumbai.
2. The appellant through his RTI application dated 29.9.2008 sought information on the following six queries:
“(1) Detail information about the rules guided by which the M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbay and M/s Senyar Maritime Establishment, Dubai (UAE) were taking the seafarers for their trading before 18.3.2005 i.e. the date of implement of Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers Rules;
(2) Detail information supplied by M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbay on his complaint since last three years as per DG Shipping letter dated 6.8.2008;
(3) Detail information about the action taken regarding recovery of salaries etc of crew members against the Vessel MV Senyar of M/s. Senyar Maritime Establishment during 1998 to 2000 when the crew members were rescued by Embassy of India, Sannaa by DG, Shipping;
(4) Information about action taken by D.G. Office against the vessel M.V. Alwakrali of M/s. Bluesea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai during January 2004 to December 2004 being unregistered company/agent has taken the seafarers and not paying their salaries etc;
(5) The photocopies of the salary slips of the appellant for the period January 2004 to December 2004 and vessel’s agreement paper during his joining to signoff with vessel M.V.Alwakrah of M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai and
(6) Information about the Rules and Regulations of seafarers while company paying salaries onboard and not sending to seafarers account as per Merchant Navy Act”.
The CPIO vide letter No. RTIA/10/2008 dated 5.12.2008 replied to the appellant as follows:
“(1) No records available with DGS;
(2) The information received from M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai since last three months provided to the appellant;
(3) The DGS has taken up the matter with M/s. Senyar Maritime EST, Dubai and reminded on 16/19.9.05 and 28.11.2005 in vain copies of letters provided to the appellant.
(4) Since, the vessel is a foreign flag and not in the Indian Port, the DGS cannot take action. Further, no specific records for specific case have been asked for;
(5) Photocopies of the salary slips for the period from January 2004 to December 2004 and vessel’s agreement papers during his joining to sign off with vessel M.V. Alwakrah of M/s. Blue Sea Enterprises, Mumbay are not available with DGS. Since, these are not DGS documents, appellant should ask from the concerned shipping company for these documents; and
(6) The Company is not registered under RPS Rules 2005. Further, question asked is not specific therefore no records can be forwarded”.
3. Aggrieved with the reply of the CPIO, the appellant preferred first appeal on 25.1.2011 before the FAA. The FAA vide order No. 22(9)/CR/2005 dated 10.3.2011 recorded held that the queries of the appellant had already been answered by the CPIO. The appellant was informed that he had sought additional information at appeal stage which could not be considered, however, he was advised to inspect the relevant records, if he so wishes.
4. During the hearing the appellant requested for information in reply to Point No. 1, 2 and 3 of his RTI application. The respondent on the other hand submit in respect to Point No. 1 that on foreign vessels, foreign flag ships, no regulation of DG Shipping apply; on Point No. 2 that the information received from M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai for the last three months has been provided to the appellant and at Point No. 3 the CPIO states that they have no locus standi against private companies.
5. The appellant in his aforementioned RTI application has sought information regarding non-payment of wages and other dues from M/s. Blue Sea Shipping Enterprises, Mumbai and M/s. Senyar Maritime Establishment, Dubai. The respondent plead that these are foreign flag ships to which the Rules/ Regulations of D.G. Shipping do not apply. The Directorate has taken up the issue with their establishment, but in vain.
6. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Commission hereby directs the CPIO to provide a more explanatory reply to the appellant with respect to the matter raised by the appellant in his RTI application within two weeks of receipt of this order. The matter is disposed of on the part of the Commission with above directions.
Citation: Shri Prakash Chandra v. Directorate General of Shipping in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/001478 & CIC/SS/A/2012/002375