PIO: Information cannot be furnished as the RTI application was made on the letter head of the appellant’s firm - CIC: As long the RTI application is signed by an individual who is a citizen of India, it shall be a valid application
The appellant has sought the following information:-
1. Provide the status of my application dated 01/05/2013 for opening Bill Collection Centre?
2. Whether department has rejected my application to opening Bill Collection Centre and if yes on what ground?
3. Provide me the details of eligibility criteria needed to get such agency for Bill Collection Centre?
4. Provide the details of Bank Guarantee needed to get such agency of Bill Collection Centre?
5. Kindly provide me the details other eligibility criteria needed to get such agency?
6. Whether department has appointed or deployed any other agency/franchisee in such field earlier?
7. If yes, then what is the name and address of the agent/franchisee?
8. Whether they are working in present time or not?
9. Whether department can allow more than one agency with same proposal? If no than on what ground/reason?
10. If yes, then why we are not getting the opportunity to serve Calcutta Telephones in such field (Bill Collection Centre)?
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The following were present
Respondent: Mr. Bhaskar Sengupta CPIO’s representative through VC M 09432000361
The appellant was given an opportunity to participate in the hearing but he is absent. The CPIO’s representative stated that the information sought by the appellant in his RTI application dated 13/06/2013 could not be supplied as he had used his firm’s letter head for seeking information whereas as per the RTI Act only citizens in their individual capacity can file RTI applications.
In this regard it will be apt to quote the extract of a decision dated 15/07/2010 by a Coordinate bench of this Commission in appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001462 (S. Balaji Vs. PIO, RPFC, EPFO) holding as under:-
“Section 3 of the RTI Act, which stipulates that all citizens shall have the right to information, confers such right on a distinct individual who is a citizen of India. In the instant case, the mere fact that the Appellant has signed his name in the capacity of Deputy Manager of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited (“BAGIC”) does not mean that he has not filed the same as a citizen of India and cannot seek information under the RTI Act. The Appellant while filing the RTI application as a citizen is free to inform the PIO about his designations and positions that he might be holding. The Commission is of the view that so long the RTI application is signed by an individual who is a citizen of India, then notwithstanding the capacity in which such application is filed, it shall be valid. The Appellant, therefore, is a “citizen” within the meaning of Section 3 of the RTI Act. Hence, the contention of the FAA/ PIO that the Appellant is a corporate entity seeking information in the guise of a “citizen” is devoid of any merit and is liable to be rejected.”
It is apparent from the above decision that the CPIO’s representative’s contention that information cannot be furnished as the RTI application was made on the letter head of the appellant’s firm is without merit. The CPIO is, therefore, directed to furnish the information requested by the appellant in his RTI application dated 13/06/2013, free of cost, within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Abhay Kumar Pandey v. BSNL in File No. CIC/BS/A/2014/900275/6739