Information was denied by referring a judgment given by Madras High Court – CIC issued show cause notice stating information has been denied without looking into the fact that the referred judgment had been reviewed by the Court
1. Complainant through his RTI application had sought for information on following points :
a. Please provide datewise details of Mobile phones, Laptop, IPad, Computer printers and FMPs purchased from date of establishment of DERC till date with make, model and price for each one of them.
b. Please provide name of officers to whom each of the articles mentioned in Point A has been allotted/given, and date of delivery with copies of relevant records and date of returns, if returned with evidence of return.
c. Please intimate the current holder of each of the article listed in Point A above and in case any of the articles has been discarded, Kindly provide the relevant records..etc
2. PIO in his reply dated 01.12.2014 referred to Hon’ble Madras High Court decision in W.P (C) No. 26781 of 2013 and CIC decision in case of Smt Uma Kanti Vs. Navodya Vidhyalaya in response to the Complainants RTI application.
3. Being unsatisfied with the reply of PIO, appellant preferred First Appeal on 12.12.2014.
4. Claiming that the PIO has deliberately, malafidely and persistently not provided the information as per the RTI application, the Complainant has approached the Commission in Complaint under Section 18 of the RTI Act.
5. Complainant referred to the reply of PIO, which stated:
“This has reference to your above mentioned 10 RTIs dated 4.11.2014, wherein you have sought information on 71 questions and requested for 3 inspections. It is observed that these 71 questions have questions on about 365 items. In this context, the following may please be seen :
1. Please give the Object for seeking the above mentioned in above said reference nos. RTI application dated 4.11.2014 as per the Hon’ble High Court Order dated 17.9.2014 in W.P No. 26781 of 2013 and M.P No. 1 of 2013 in the matter of PIO, Registrar (Administration), Hon’ble High Court, Madras Vs CIC. In which a division bench said RTI applicants must disclose the object for which the information is sought and also satisfy that such a object has a legal backing, a decision which have for reaching implications on getting information under the RTI Act. In this regard Para 21,28,29 & 30 of the High Court Order dated 17.09.2014 in W.P No. 26781 of 2012 and M.P No. 1 of 2013 in the matter of PIO, Registrar (Administration) High Court, Madras Vs CIC may be seen.
2. Hon’ble CIC decision in the case of Smt. Uma Kanti & Shri Ramesh Chandra Vs Navodya Vidhyalaya (No. CIC/OK/C/2007/00362 & 367 dated 05.01.2008). The appellant sought information/documents on 375 items regarding various issues pertaining to the department. No information was furnished by the CPIO.”
6. Complainant submitted that PIO did not decide the matter at all. He neither allowed the request of the complainant nor furnished the information, which was a deliberate act on his part to deny/delay the furnishing of information. Complainant further submitted that the information was furnished only after the direction of FAA which itself was proof of withholding of information by the PIO.
7. Having heard the submission and on perusal of the record, the Commission observes that the reply of PIO was in the nature of copying and pasting without application of mind as the very decision of the Hon’ble Madras High Court which was quoted by the PIO was reviewed by the date of dispatch of his reply. Thus, the Commission directs the PIO to show cause as to why maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for furnishing of information after the prescribed period and for denial of information by quoting decision of Hon’ble Madras High Court without looking into the fact that the same had been reviewed by the Court, the explanation should reach the Commission within 3 weeks of receipt of this Order.
Citation: R.K Jain v. PIO, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission in Case No. CIC/SA/C/2014/000481