Photocopy of case file of unauthorised construction was denied information on ground of being third party information - CIC: Disclosure of such information does not require clearance from any third party; SCN to PIO & compensation of Rs. 25,000/- granted
The appellant sought attested photocopies of the entire case file of unauthorised construction on property/Building No.C-1/86, Yamuna Vihar, Delhi.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Appellant is present while respondent is absent. The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 10.12.2013 seeking the above information. PIO vide his reply dated 15.01.2014 denied information on ground of being third party information, on point nos. 1 & 3. Further with reference to point no. 1, he informed the appellant that the property in question was sealed on 09.09.2013. With respect to point no.2 PIO stated that the said property has not been sealed by their office thus contradicting what has been stated against point no.1. FAA vide order dated 13.02.2014 directed the PIO to provide a revised reply to the appellant, after seeking consent of the third party on point nos. 1 & 3 and to provide correct reply on point no. 2. Having not received any response from the PIO in compliance of FAA’s order, appellant filed present appeal before the Commission.
The appellant stated that after the FAA’s order PIO denied the information, stating that third party refused to provide any information related to him to the appellant. Appellant further stated that due to unauthorised construction on the above mentioned property, extensive damage was caused to his house. The appellant is aggrieved as his house was damaged because of unauthorised construction and by denial of information u/s 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act. He also stated that his and his family’s lives are in danger due to the damages as pointed out by him. He stated that had the public authority provided him information on receipt of his RTI application, the unauthorised construction would have been stopped and his house would have been spared the damages thus caused. He requested action against the PIO and compensation to him.
After hearing the appellant and on perusal of record, the Commission finds that the respondent denied information to the appellant invoking exemption u/s 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act 2005, on the ground that sealing and de-sealing of any property is personal in nature. The Commission in a number of decisions has held that disclosure of information in relation to unauthorised construction and encroachment does not require clearance from any third party. Moreover in this case the appellant has suffered due to the unauthorised construction. PIO in his initial reply provided contradictory information on point nos. 1 & 2. On point no. 1 he said that the property has been sealed and on point no.2 he said that this office did not seal the said property. Even, after the FAA’s clear and specific order to provide correct and specific information with respect to de-sealing of the property, the PIO denied information on the ground that the third party refused permission to provide information regarding his property.
The Commission, hereby, directs the respondent to provide complete information to the appellant within two weeks of receipt of this order under intimation to this Commission. The appellant has clearly been harassed and has had to file and first and second appeals unnecessarily, because of inept handling of his RTI application by the CPIO. Harassment of a common man seeking justice is abhorring and legally impermissible. Nothing is more hurting than the feeling of helplessness and many, instead of complaining, would succumb in such circumstances. The award of compensation in such a case is called for in the interest of justice to the man who has suffered acute damage due to denial of information. The Commission awards compensation of Rs. 25,000/- to be paid to the appellant u/s 19(8) (b) of the RTI Act for the loss and detriment suffered by him due to deliberate denial of information. Show cause notice is issued to the PIO/E.E. (B-I), Shahdara North, East Delhi Municipal Corporation as to why penalty should not be imposed on him u/s 20 RTI Act, 2005 for outright deliberate denial of information on whimsical ground to the appellant. PIO is afforded an opportunity of personal hearing on 10.06.2015 at 04.15 PM on which date he must present himself before the Commission. Written submission, if any, should reach the Commission by 03.06.2015 positively. If there are other persons responsible for not providing the information to the appellant, the PIO is directed to inform such persons in writing about the show cause notice and direct them to submit their written submissions, if any, and to attend the Commission’s hearing on the above mentioned date. In case the PIO fails to comply with the Commission’s directions, it will be construed that he is the only person responsible for not providing information to the appellant as sought in his RTI application. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shri R.J.Singh v. East Delhi Municipal Corporation in F. No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001340