Information related to payment of widow pension - pension of appellants mother was unduly delayed by the postal authorities - CIC: as far as possible, the FAA should give the appellant / third party an opportunity of hearing specially if he so requests
Information related to payment of Widow Pension to 928 beneficiaries of Rs.2916400/- - widow pension of appellants mother was unduly delayed by the postal authorities and the relevant file notings in the matter sought - interest for the delayed period demanded - PIO: interest of Rs.19/- for the delayed period has been credited to the appellant’s mother’s account - CIC: rendering an opportunity of hearing to the parties is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence; as far as possible, the FAA should give the appellant including the third party, if any, an opportunity of hearing specially if he so requests
The appellant through 06 queries had sought information related to payment of Widow Pension to 928 beneficiaries of Rs. 29,16,400/-. He wants to know date on which payment to beneficiaries were given, date on which my mother was given pension, whether it was within time and amount which was given to my mother, in 18 months how many times pension to my mother was given, name of officers responsible for payment etc.
Grounds for the Second Appeal:
The CPIO has not the desired information and some of the information has been denied under Section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; & (g) of the RTI Act.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present
Appellant: Mr. Nataraj Saha through TC M: 9153362896
Respondent: Mr. Mahadev Mandal CPIO through VC M: 9434159026
The appellant stated that widow pension of his mother was unduly delayed by the postal authorities and he wants the relevant file notings in the matter. He further stated that interest for the delayed period should be paid and the pass book duly completed should be furnished. He added that the FAA did not give an opportunity of hearing inspite of making a specific request. The CPIO stated that interest of Rs.19/- for the delayed period has been credited to the appellant’s mother’s account and he will provide the information.
The CPIO is directed to provide the information as above to the appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. FAA/DPS West Bengal Circle should ensure compliance. As regards the appellant’s submissions that he was not given an opportunity of personal hearing by the FAA, it is needless to say that rendering an opportunity of hearing to the parties is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence. It is conducive to fairness and transparency and accords with the principles of natural justice. An opportunity of hearing to the parties also brings greater clarity to the adjudicating authorities. This Commission always gives an opportunity of hearing to the parties but this does not appear to be usually done by the FAAs, as probably there are practical difficulties therein, partly arising out of the number of appeals involved and partly due to the limited time frame in which the matters are required to be decided. In view of this, we would only like to suggest that the FAA should, as far as possible, give the appellant including the third party, if any, an opportunity of hearing specially if he so requests, without forgetting that the essence of RTI Act is to provide complete, correct and timely information to the appellant. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Nataraj Saha Shibtallapara v. Department of Posts in File No. CIC/BS/A/2012/002040/4164