Information in relation to Income Certificate provided by the Tehsildar was denied with the plea that file is not traceable - CIC: Defense of missing file does not absolve the public authority from the responsibility of furnishing the information
2. Appellant through his RTI application had sought for information in relation to Income certificate provided to Mr Samir Khan by the Tehsildar (Saket) – Copy of the verification and inquiry report provided submitted by Baliff/Field Staff. Having received no information within the prescribed period, the appellant approached the First Appellate Authority in First Appeal. PIO thereafter replied on 29.08.2014 stating that as the record was old it was not traceable and will be provided as soon as it is traceable. FAA by his Order dated 31.10.2014 directed the PIO (Mehrauli) to provide correct and complete information within 10 days. Claiming nonfurnishing of information, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
3. Appellant Ms Rakhee Marwah submitted that she was seeking the information about the false income certificate of her husband Mr Samir Khan. She alleged that her husband produced a false income certificate of Rs 7000/ for the purpose of showing that he cannot afford a lawyer, to avail legal service free of cost and to deny maintenance expenses to her. The appellant stated that she filed various cases against her husband under Sec 125 CrPC, Domestic Violence Act, Sec 498 A, Sec 406 and Sec 34 of IPC. The appellant also showed certain papers which included the income tax returns, Salary Slips, Insurance Policy Copies etc which reflected that Mr Samir Khan’s salary was more than Rs. 7,000/. She stated that through her RTI application she was seeking the action taken report on her complaint about the false income certificate made by her husband. She also pointed that her husband had given a statement before the court that his earning were Rs 48,000/. Appellant alleged that her husband had concealed the criminal case details while applying for Passport to go to Dubai for which he was penalized to pay Rs. 5,000/as penalty.
4. Appellant prayed the Commission to grant Rs. 75,000/ as compensation for her sufferings due to non-furnishing of information by the respondent authority which has affected her case before the Court of Law and because of which she is now suffering financially.
5. Commission finds that Mr. A N Mishra should have performed duty to inquire into the allegation of false income certificate, and also by giving a reply. He came up with plea that file is not traceable. The Commission reminds that the defense of missing file does not absolve the public authority from the responsibility of furnishing the information nor it will justify the inaction over allegation of fabrication of false income certificate by Mr. Samir Khan.
6. Having heard the submission and perused the record, Commission directs Mr A N Mishra to explain as to why maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- U/ S 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the RTI Act should not be imposed on him for not furnishing the complete and correct information to the appellant on the pretext that the file/folder is not traceable with them. The Commission also directs Mr A N Mishra to explain as to why compensation of Rs. 75,000/ should not be awarded to the appellant. Mr A N Mishra is directed to be personally present along with the explanation on 27.04.2015 at 2:30 PM, his nonpresence and absence of explanation will lead to the conclusion that the Mr A N Mishra has no explanation to offer and the commission will decide the case in his absence.
Citation: Rakhee Marwah v. SDM (Saket) in Case No. CIC/SA/A/2014/001652