Re-designate APIOs as PIOs for timely disposal of RTI applications – CIC order
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) seeking details about the employees availing the LTC facility since 2009. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the information but after the period stipulated under the RTI Act. The Central Information Commission (CIC) issued a show cause notice to the PIO to show cause why penalty should not be imposed on him for providing a delayed response and directed the PIO concerned to appear before it for the hearing.
During the hearing of the show cause before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the RTI application was received at the unit level but had to be routed through the PIO located in Mumbai as per the practice followed in the company and in the process, there was a loss of time. They further explained that some more time was lost in compiling the information since the appellant had sought extensive details about the employees availing of the LTC facility for a period of nearly 3 years.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the arrangement at the public authority for disposal of RTI applications seems to be flawed. All the RTI applications received even at the unit level are forwarded first to the PIO at the headquarters who in turn transmits the same to the unit concerned to collect the desired information before providing it to the information seeker. As a result, there is a time lapse. The CIC held that the company should re-designate the present APIOs (Assistant Public Information Officer) as PIOs or it should advise the APIOs to transfer the RTI application to the appropriate unit where the information is held so that the RTI application is finally sent to the PIO at the headquarters along with the desired information.
The CIC ruled that the PIO concerned cannot be held responsible for the delay because it is the peculiar arrangement put in place by the company which has resulted in delay. The Commission directed the PIO to place this order before the competent authorities who must review the present arrangement to ensure that such delays do not take place in future.
Citation: Mr. Naveen Kumar Maturiya v. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000942
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1079
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