Information was not provided even though a fee of Rs 1000 was paid - The earlier PIO proceeded on leave - CIC: the basis on which this amount was calculated has not been specified; new PIO to show cause why he should not be penalized u/s 20(1); refund fee
PIO asked the appellant to deposit Rs. 1000/- so that the information sought by him could be provided - PIO proceeded on leave and information was not provided though fee was paid - The new PIO claimed that he was holding concurrent charge in 3 to 4 districts - CIC: the basis on which this amount was calculated has not been specified; new PIO to show cause why he should not be penalized in terms of the provisions of sub section 1 of section 20 - CIC: PIO to refund the fee of Rs. 1000/-
According to the appeal, the Appellant had sent an RTI application on 20th March 2013 to the CPIO, seeking information on eight points concerning the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Azamgarh. The CPIO responded on 17th April 2013, asking the Appellant to deposit Rs. 1000/- so that the information sought by him could be sent in a timely manner. The Appellant sent postal orders for the above amount to the CPIO vide his letter dated 22.4.2013. Not having received any reply from the CPIO, he filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 24.5.2013. Vide his order dated 30.5.2013, the FAA directed the CPIO to provide the required information to the Appellant immediately under intimation to his office. Not having received any information from the CPIO, the Appellant approach the CIC in a second appeal on 31.7.2013.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Appellant submitted that he had still not received the information sought vide his RTI application. Shri Anil Chaturvedi, CPIO submitted that he had taken charge of Nehru Yuva Kendra and of CPIO on 22.7.2013. The former CPIO, Shri A. K. Singh, who had asked the Appellant on 17.4.2013 to deposit Rs. 1000/, had proceeded on leave sometime in April 2013 and had been transferred elsewhere during the course of this leave. Hence, there had been delay in responding to the RTI application. The CPIO is hereby directed to provide information in response all the eight queries in the RTI application, in keeping with the provisions of the RTI Act, within a period of three weeks from the receipt of this order.
3. The Commission further notes that even though the Appellant had sent the amount of Rs. 1000/-requisitioned by the CPIO on 22.4.2013 and stated during the proceedings that he had a speed post receipt to establish that it had been received in the office of the CPIO, no reply has been sent to him. On being asked about the reason for this delay, the CPIO said that he had taken charge on 22.7.2013 after departure of the previous CPIO, Shri A. K. Singh sometime in the month of April 2013. He claimed that the Accountant of the Yuva Kendra was also on leave for some time. Therefore, the RTI application was not brought to his notice. The Appellant stated that as per his information, the Accountant of the Yuva Kendra had been present all along. In any case, the absence of the dealing subordinate hand cannot be cited as a reason for delaying action on RTI applications. The CPIO further stated that he had been holding concurrent charge in 3 to 4 districts and was consequently unable to devote adequate time to the work in Nehru Yuva Kendra, Azamgarh. After carefully considering the submissions made by the CPIO, we are not inclined to accept the explanation for delay given by him. Accordingly, Shri Anil Chaturvedi, CPIO must explain why he failed to provide the information in time to the Appellant. We, therefore, direct Shri Anil Chaturvedi, CPIO to show cause why he should not be penalized in terms of the provisions of sub section 1 of section 20 of the Right to Information Act for not responding to the RTI application within the time limit laid down in the RTI Act, thereby causing delay in the disclosure of information. He is directed to appear before us on 19th March, 2014 at 1200 Noon in the Commission’s office and give his explanation. His written submissions, if any, should reach the Commission’s office by 12 th March, 2014.
4. The Commission also notes that while asking the Appellant to send Rs. 1000/- vide his letter dated 17.4.2013, the CPIO did not specify the basis on which this amount was calculated. He is directed to ensure that fees for providing information are charged strictly in accordance with the Right to Information Rules, 2012 and the basis for calculation of fee is invariably mentioned in the communications, requisitioning fee from RTI applicants. Shri Anil Chaturvedi, CPIO volunteered during the proceedings that the receipt of the above amount did not figure in the accounts of the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Azamgarh, even though a photocopy of the postal orders sent by the Appellant is available on their file. The competent authority needs to look into this matter pertaining to proper accounting of RTI fee. The CPIO is also directed to refund Rs. 1000/- to the Appellant within a week of receipt of this order and provide information, as per our direction in para 2 above, to him free of cost.
5. With the above directions, the appeal is disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Umesh Kumar Moray v. Nehru Yuva Kendra in File No. CIC/LS/A/2013/001569/SH