PIO of CESTAT dismissed 90 RTI applications by one single order – more than 2 lakh pages of information and 200 inspections during 3 years – disproportionate diversion of resources - FAA: lack of resources cannot be a reason for refusal
Inspection of documents relating to appointment & replacement of FAA of CESTAT - PIO dismissed 90 RTI applications by one single order observing that applicant is habitual applicant - office of CESTAT has allowed more than 2 lakh pages of information and 200 inspections during the period of last three years – disproportionate diversion of resources and detrimental to the safety of records - FAA: when an Act is in place, the organisations concerned have to put in place the necessary resources for complying with the provisions of the Act and lack of resources cannot be reason for refusal to furnish information - CIC: order of FAA upheld
1. The complainant has filed the present complaint with regard to his RTI application dated 30.7.2011 seeking inspection of documents/ records/ notesheets etc relating to appointment & replacement of first appellate authority of CESTAT under the RTI Act, 2005. The complainant submits that the Shri S.K Verma, CPIO dismissed 90 RTI applications of the complainant by one single order by an undated order passed in August 2011 on the ground that the complainant is habitual to filing of various RTI applications and as stated in the CPIO's order the office of CESTAT has allowed more than 200000 pages of information and 200 inspections during the period of last three years and the normal functioning of the office is adversely effected due to diversion of resources of the office and is also detrimental to the safety and preservation of records of the Tribunal. The complainant then filed first appeal which was disposed off vide order dated 8.11.2011 wherein the first appellate authority issued directions to examine the applications and furnish the information where available. The first appellate authority held : "The decisions of the Higher Courts are that when an Act is in place, the organisations concerned have to put in place the necessary resources for complying with the provisions of the Act and lack of resources cannot be reason for refusal to furnish information. But it remains a fact that such resources do not come easily. Ultimately these requirements and constraints will find some equilibrium in course of time which may involve reduction in disposal of statutory work of CESTAT."
2. The complainant submits vide his complaint that the CPIO has not complied with the aforesaid order of the First Appellate Authority and the said RTI application has not been examined/no order has been passed by the CPIO in relation to the same.
3. However, the CPIO has apprised the Commission and also as seen from the records, the CPIO had filed an appeal against the said order of the first appellate authority dated 8.11.2011 which was disposed off by the order of the Commission dated 13.3.2013.
4. In view of the pending appeal which was disposed off only on 13.3.2013 and directions already passed by the Commission with that regard, the Commission finds no reason to issue any further directions in the present complaint and the same is being disposed off accordingly.
Citation: Shri R.K Jain v. Custom Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal in Case No. CIC/SS/C/2012/000361