Information under RTI about Central Excise raid at Hindalco in 1975
The applicant submitted that his interview was published in the Economic Times, Delhi Edition, on 2.8.1975 with regard to his study on the production cost of Aluminium and discrepancies on account of Hindustan Aluminium Corporation Ltd (HINDALCO). After the publication of news report, a search was conducted by the Central Excise Department and a large quantity of Aluminium was seized from Hindalco’s consignment agents from different places. The appellant sought the final result of the investigation from the Directorate of Legal Affairs, Central Board of Excise & Customs. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that the information requested was for a period beyond 20 years which cannot be provided as per provisions of section 8(3) Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section: Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act. of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) held that the information as sought for by the appellant is vague and did not pertain to the Directorate of Legal Affairs. Observing that all efforts should be made to provide the information, the FAA directed to forward the application to the CPIO of jurisdictional Central Excise Office under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that the PIO of the Office of Commissioner of Central Excise, Mirzapur has not provided information and requested the Commission to initiate penalty proceedings against the under the provisions of section 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.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the Central Excise Division to provide requisite information as per available records to the appellant within stipulated time and in case a reply has been furnished, to forward a copy of his reply to the appellant. The CIC held that if the appellant is not satisfied with the reply of the PIO, he can also avail the first appellate channel under the provisions of section 19(1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub¬section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority: Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. of the RTI Act. The CIC further observed that in case the appellant is still not satisfied with the reply of the FAA, he can approach the Commission in second appeal afresh under section 19(3), along with complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Milap Choraria v. Office of the Commissioner, Directorate of Legal Affairs in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/000841
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/533
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