Partial information regarding CL applications was provided - PIO: appellant has submitted over 50 RTI applications personally and over 100 applications through his associates to harass PIO - CIC: provide information; appellant to desist from misusing RTI
Copies of appellant’s CL applications was sought - PIO provided partial information - PIO: appellant has submitted over 50 RTI applications personally and over 100 applications through his associates with a view to settle personal scores with the PIO - CIC: obtain the information from the holder and provide it; directed the appellant to desist from misusing the cherished right
1. Appellant submitted RTI application dated 28 December 2012 before the CPIO, Health Department, U.T Chandigarh seeking copies of his Casual Leave Applications w.e.f 1/1/2007; 28/ 12/2012 along with Annexures. Appellant also sought Casual Leave Applications of Shri Harbans Singh for the same period.
2. Vide Order dated 3 January 2013, CPIO informed the Appellant that the RTI Application has been transferred to multiple departments in the Public Authority.
3. Appellant preferred first Appeal dated 12 April 2013 to the First Appellate Authority.
4. Vide Order dated 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. April 2013, CPIO provided partial information to the Appellant.
5. Being aggrieved and not being satisfied by the above response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
6. Matter was heard today. Both parties, as above, appeared in person and made submissions. Respondent CPIO/Dr. Rajinder Sharma, SMO, Incharge, Govt. Civil Block Hospital stated that he had already provided photo copies of three casual leave applications to the appellant for the year 2011 prior to the receipt of the RTI application. However, it took some time to locate the fourth C.L. application of the appellant which was furnished to him in April, 2013. It was further submitted that the appellant has submitted over 50 RTI applications personally and over 100 applications through his associates with a view to settle personal scores with the CPIO. Appellant accepted having received the three C.L. applications from the SMO and pressed that punitive action be taken against the erring CPIO for delay in providing the photo copy of the fourth leave application to him. He also pressed for furnishing information pertaining to his C.L. record for the period 20052010.
7. After hearing both the parties, Commission directs the CPIO, Malaria Wing (Health Department) to obtain the requested information from the holder of information namely CPIO, Civil Dispensary, Sector38 where the appellant was previously posted and also from all the other Public Authorities where the appellant was posted during the period 20052010 pertaining to his C.L. record and to provide the same to the appellant within three weeks of receipt of the order.
8. Commission accepts the explanation of the CMO, Incharge, Govt. Civil Block Hospital regarding the delay in providing information pertaining to the fourth C.L. application of the appellant and condones the same. Commission draws the attention of the CPIOs and appellant to the observations of the Apex Court in the matter of Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 dated 9.8.2011) wherein it has been observed that :
“37.The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under Clause (b) of Section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption. But in regard to other information,(that is information other than those enumerated in Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; and (c) of the Act), equal importance and emphasis are given to other public interests (like confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary relationships, efficient operation of governments, etc.). Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the nonproductive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritizing 'information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
9. Appellant is directed to desist from misusing the cherished right given to him under the transparency Act in future.
(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Ramesh Kumar v. Health Department (Malaria) in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2013/000927