On a query from the CIC whether the order of the FAA had been complied with or not, the Respondent replied in the negative & gave an evasive reply - CIC recorded its displeasure over the casual manner in which the matter had been dealt with
On a query from the CIC whether the order of the FAA had been complied with or not, the Respondent replied in the negative & gave an evasive reply - CIC recorded its displeasure over the casual manner in which the RTI application & the order of the FAA had been dealt with by the PIO
O R D E R
The Appellant vide her RTI application had sought information relating to non-payment of interest for the month of September, 2009 on the GPF of her husband Mr. A. K. Pathak, Retired Inspector and issues related thereto. The CPIO vide its letter dated 11.12.2009 provided a point-wise response to the Appellant. Dissatisfied by the response of the CPIO, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA vide its order dated 26.04.2010, directed the CPIO to re-examine the whole issue and submit a compliance report and also to provide information to the Appellant within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of its order.
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Respondent: Mr. Yashovimal Vishnoi, Asst. Accounts Officer (P&AO, CBEC Meerut) (M: 9412677094) through VC;
The Appellant remained absent during the hearing. Ms. Preeti Joshi representative of NIC studio at U.S. Nagar confirmed her absence. In its reply, the Respondent explained that queries of the Appellant were more in the nature of seeking reasons/ opinions, etc. which did not fall within the definition of “information” as per the RTI Act, 2005. On a query from the Commission whether the order of the FAA dated 26.04.2010 had been complied with or not, the Respondent replied in the negative and gave an evasive and non-specific reply. To a query from the Commission regarding the details of the CPIO concerned with the matter, the Respondent submitted that the matter under consideration was very old and Mr. O.S. Rathi, who was the concerned, has since retired. The representative of the Respondent appeared ignorant about the matter and skirted the relevant issues raised by the Commission.
The Commission would like to place on record its displeasure over the casual manner in which the RTI application and the order of the FAA had been dealt with by the CPIO. It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act, 2005 itself. It was felt that the conduct of respondent was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure greater transparency and effective access to the information.
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by the Respondent, the Commission directs the FAA to examine compliance of its order its 26.04.2010 and submit its report to the Commission within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order while affixing responsibility on the errant officer.
The Appeal stands disposed with the above direction.
Citation: Mrs. Kumud Pathak v. Central Board of Excise and Customs in Appeal No.:-CIC/AT/A/2010/000382-BJ Date of Decision : 10.07.2017