Information was not given on the grounds that the specific time period for which information was sought was not provided - Respondent tendered his unconditional apology for the lapse & requested the CIC to condone the same - CIC accepted the request
1. The complainant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), State Bank of India, Regional Business Office, Civil Lines, Khandwa, M.P. seeking information on six points pertaining to his leave details, including, inter-alia,
(i) a photo copy of his leave details maintained at SBI Maheshwar Road, Barwaha, District Khargone for the period when the employee was borne in the books of SBI, Maheswar Road Branch and
(ii) leave details as reflected in the Attendance Register maintained at SBI Shahpur, District Burhanpur for the period when the employee was borne in the books of SBI, Shahpur, District Burhanpur.
2. The complainant filed the instant complaint before the Commission on the grounds that the information sought has been deliberately withheld by the CPIO on the pretext that the queries raised are not time specific. The complainant requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to furnish the information sought for at the earliest.
3. The complainant Shri Manish Dandige and the respondent Shri Alok Kumar, Regional Manager, State Bank of India, Regional Business Office, Civil Lines, Khandwa, M.P. attended the hearing through video conferencing.
4. The complainant submitted that the CPIO withheld the information sought for on the pretext that the queries raised are not time specific. Though, he mentioned in the RTI application that the leave details have been sought for the period he was posted at the office concerned.
5. The respondent submitted that the complainant has sought his leave details for the period he was posted at the office concerned, However, due to oversight the complainant vide letter dated 09.12.2016 was requested to provide specific dates for which the information was sought for. The respondent tendered his unconditional apology for this lapse and requested the Commission to condone the same. He stated that the information sought for by the complainant shall be furnished to him.
6. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, observes that the information sought had not been provided to the complainant on the grounds that the specific time period for which information was sought was not provided. However, the complainant has sought information for the period he was posted at the office concerned. The Commission further observes that the reply dated 09.12.2016 furnished to the complainant requesting him to provide specific dates was perhaps due to an error of judgement on the part of the CPIO concerned. However, it cannot be said that the CPIO had acted consciously and deliberately with a malafide intention to withhold the information sought for. Hence, in the absence of any malafide intention, it would not be appropriate to initiate any action for imposition of penalty on the CPIO.
7. The Commission observes that Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in its judgment dated 28.10.2013 J.K. Mittal vs. Central Information Commission and Anr. [W.P.(C) No. 6755/2012] has held as under:
“.... there can be no dispute that while considering a complaint made under Section 18 of the Act, the Commission cannot direct the concerned Page | 3 CPIO to provide the information which the complainant had sought from him. Such a power can only be exercised when a Second Appeal in terms of Subsection (3) of Section 19 is preferred before the Commissioner.”
8. In view of the above cited judgment, since we are considering a complaint under Section 18 of the RTI Act, no further direction for providing information to the complainant can be issued. Hence, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.
9. With the above observations, the complaint is disposed of.
10. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Manish Dandige v. State Bank of India in CIC/SBIND/C/2017/195290, dated 28.03.2018