No record of minutes of meeting held with the stakeholders and producers to elicit their views about finalisation of the rate card held by DAVP - CIC: both the agenda and the minutes of the discussions should be promptly uploaded in the DAVP website
No record of minutes of the meeting held with the stakeholders and the producers to elicit their views about the finalisation of the rate card held by DAVP - CIC: if any meeting is held with the stakeholders and producers, both the agenda and the minutes of the discussions should be promptly uploaded in the DAVP website - the copies of all suggestions received from all sources for the preparation of the draft rate card/ rate card to be provided - the copies of all communications, file noting and correspondence in regard to each of the queries to be provided
1. In respect of the finalisation of the rate card for the producers, the Appellant had sought a number of information including the copies of the minutes of the meeting held with the stakeholders and the producers to elicit their views about this. He had also wanted the minutes of the committee constituted for drafting the rate card as well as the suggestions and inputs received from all sources. It appears the CPIO had not provided much of this information although he had invited him for inspecting the records. The Appellant however pointed out that in spite of his visiting the office, he was not shown any records. He had appealed against the order of the CPIO but it appears again that the Appellate Authority had not passed any order on his appeal either.
2. The Appellant submitted that neither in this case nor in many similar cases in the past, he had been shown the records or provided with any substantive information. On the other hand, the respondent submitted that much of the desired record had already been provided to him in a bunch in the past, although in regard to the minutes of the meeting held with the stakeholders and producers, he submitted that there were no such minutes in the file.
3. After carefully considering the facts of the case and the submissions made before us, we get an impression that the Appellant has a lot of grievance against the DAVP and this is reflected in the series of information he wants from them. Decision making in the government is expected to be transparent and open. Therefore, ordinarily, whenever the DAVP sets out to decide on rate cards which would have an implication for a large number of stakeholders, it should invariably place all the relevant records in the public domain proactively so that everyone interested can access all such details freely and not have to seek this information under RTI. For example, if any meeting is held with the stakeholders and producers, as in this case, both the agenda and the minutes of the discussions should be promptly uploaded in the DAVP website so that there would be no doubt about what transpired in the meeting. This practice can be followed for all future meetings without fail. This will reduce the work load of the CPIO as more and more citizens will access the information from the website of the DAVP.
4. As far as the present case is concerned, the respondent categorically claims that there are no minutes recorded for the meeting held with the stakeholders and the producers in connection with the preparation of the draft rate card. Though it sounds somewhat strange that no records of that meeting was kept, we have to go by what the DAVP claims in this regard. However, apart from the meeting with the stakeholders, the DAVP would also have received many suggestions from them which might have been used in preparing the final rate card. The Appellant wants the copies of those suggestions. We do not see any particular problem in providing the suggestions received from various sources. We, therefore, direct the CPIO to provide to the Appellant the copies of all suggestions received from all sources for the preparation of the draft rate card/rate card within 10 working days of receiving this order. We also direct the CPIO to reply to the Appellant within 15 working days of receiving this order and provide whatever information is available in material form against each of his queries separately, preferably in the form of a tabular statement. Needless to say, the copies of all communications, file noting and correspondence in regard to each of these queries must be provided if available on record. Wherever no information or part information is available, the CPIO shall make a categorical statement about that in his reply. We suppose that if the information is provided in this format, there would be no ambiguity and the Appellant would be satisfied that all the available information in the form of records has been made available to him.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. Parmod Suri v. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000292