Powers & duties of Support Official(s) attached to CIC were denied on the pretext that there is no post of support officer - Appellant requested to censure the PIO for not complying with FAA’s Order for providing the information - CIC: No malafide denial
Date of Hearing : 16.05.2016
1. S.K. Nangia filed an application dated 29.08.2013 under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Central Information Commission seeking information on two points, namely
(1) powers and duties of Support Officer attached to I.C. as per requirement of 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; of the RTI Act and
(2) whether rules framed by CIC authorize Support Officer attached to I.C. to withhold from I.C. submissions made by an appellant/complainant in response to submission made by PIO, which is a process of continuation of proceedings before I.C. or eventual disposal of Appeal/Complaint made – if so, provide copy thereof.
2. The appellant filed a second appeal dated 27.05.2014 before the Commission on the ground that the PIO avoided providing the information initially saying that there is no post of Support Officer in CIC and did not provide the information despite the order of the FAA. The appellant requested the Commission to
(i) censure the PIO for not complying with FAA’s Order for providing the information,
(ii) instruct the PIO to provide complete and specific information as sought
(iii) impose penalty on the PIO for the period of delay after receipt of his application and
(iv) order an inquiry into the matter of handling of his application by the PIO and appeal by the FAA, and for creating false records to show compliance within time limits prescribed under the RTI Act.
3. The appellant Shri S.K. Nangia attended the audio hearing. The respondent Shri Rabbani, Deputy Secretary, CIC was present in person.
4. The appellant submitted that he had sought information regarding the powers and duties of Designated Official(s) attached to Information Commissioners but due to oversight it was stated as Support Official(s). However, the respondent deliberately did not provide information on the pretext that there is no post of support officer. The appellant further submitted that had the respondent provided information there would not have been any need to file first and second appeal. The appellant further submitted that the FAA vide order dated 20.12.2013 had directed the CPIO to furnish the information for the designated officers as sought in the RTI application. But, no information has been provided to him yet. Therefore, the appellant requested the Commission to impose penalty on the CPIO concerned as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
5. The respondent submitted that though the information sought by the appellant is available on the website of CIC, a copy was also provided to the appellant vide letter dated 13.05.2016.
6. The Commission observes that though the information was not provided within the stipulated time, it cannot be said that the CPIO acted consciously and deliberately with intent to deny the information sought by the appellant. Further, there is nothing to establish that the CPIO malafidely denied the information sought by the appellant.
7. In WP(C) 3114/2007 Bhagat Singh Vs. CIC & Anrs. Hon’ble Delhi High Court vide order dated 03.12.2007 held that “……This Court takes a serious note of the two year delay in releasing information, the lack of adequate reasoning in the orders of the public information officer and the Appellate Authority and the lack of application of mind in relation to the nature of the information sought. The materials on record clearly show the lackadaisical approach of the second and third respondent in releasing the information sought. However, the petitioner has not been able to demonstrate that they malafidely denied the information sought. Therefore, a direction to the Central Information Commission to initiate action under Section 20 of the Act cannot be issued…..”
8. In view of the above, no further action is required on prayer of the complainant for taking action against the CPIO concerned under the RTI Act.
9. The appeal is disposed of. Copy of decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri S.K. Nangia v. Central Information Commission in Decision No. CIC/YA/A/2014/002136/SB