Response to the RTI application was delayed & first appeal was not responded - PIO: consent was sought from third party u/s 11 but no response was received - CIC: for the short delay, no malafide intention of PIO; directed PIO & FAA to follow the RTI Act
Copy of a CVC circular and information concerning the need for self contained speaking and reasoned orders by the authorities exercising disciplinary powers - there is no mechanism to monitor effective implementation of the guidelines regarding speaking and reasoned orders – CIC: obtain the circular from the Head Office & provide it
Response to the RTI application was delayed & first appeal was not responded - PIO: information sought was regarding the RTI application filed by a third party, consent was sought under section 11 but no response was received from him - CIC: there was a short delay ranging from 13 to 16 days, no malafide intention on the part of the PIO; he should ensure that replies to all RTI applications are given strictly within the timeframe stipulated in the RTI Act; FAA directed to ensure that all the appeals are disposed of strictly in keeping with the provisions of the RTI Act
File Nos. CIC/SH/A/2014/003184 and CIC/SH/C/2014/000448 contain an appeal and a complaint regarding the RTI application dated 18.6.2014, filed by the Appellant/Complainant, seeking copy of a CVC circular and information concerning the need for self contained speaking and reasoned orders by the authorities exercising disciplinary powers. File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000888 contains an appeal filed by the Appellant regarding his RTI application dated 1.11.2013, seeking information regarding the RTI application of one Shri Gautam Sen Gupta. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, the Appellant/Complainant has approached the CIC in second appeal/ complaint in all the three cases.
2. With regard to his RTI application dated 18.6.2014 (File Nos. CIC/SH/A/2014/0003184 and CIC/SH/C/2014/000448) the Appellant/Complainant submitted that a copy of the CVC circular, sought at point No. 1 of the RTI application, was not provided by the CPIO. He was also not satisfied with the replies to the remaining points of the RTI application and stated that the Respondents have informed him that there is no mechanism in the Respondent public authority to monitor effective implementation of the guidelines regarding speaking and reasoned orders. In this context, he prayed that the CPIO be directed to file a sworn affidavit that there is no such mechanism. The Appellant/Complainant also stated that the RTI applcation was not responded to within a period of thirty days and there was no response from the FAA to his first appeal dated 5.8.2014. The Respondents reiterated the reply already given by them and stated that there was some delay in responding to the RTI application because the information had to be obtained from their Head Office. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. We note that the CVC circular, a copy of which has been sought at point No.1 of the RTI application, was mentioned in a circular issued by the Respondents (circular No. 2925 dated 4.6.2014). Accordingly, we direct the CPIO to provide to the Appellant a copy of the CVC circular, mentioned above, free of cost, within fifteen days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. We further note that the CPIO has replied categorically the remaining points of the RTI application and see no need for him to file a sworn affidavit or for intervention by the Commission in regard to the CPIO’s replies to point Nos. 2 to 6.
3. Regarding the RTI application dated 1.11.2013 (File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000888), the Appellant stated that the information sought by him was not provided. The Respondents submitted that the information sought was regarding the RTI application filed by a third party (Shri Gautam Sen Gupta) and the further process (appeals etc.) concerning the same. They further submitted that a reference was made under Section 11 to Shri Sen Gupta, but no response was received from him. In this case also, the Appellant stated that the response to his RTI application was not given within a period of thirty days and there was no response to his appeal to the FAA. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. It is noted that in the guidelines, regarding implementation of suo motu disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act, issued by the DOPT vide their O.M. 1/6/2011IR dated 15.4.2013, all public authorities have been directed to proactively disclose the RTI applications and appeals received and their responses, on the websites maintained by them. However, it has been stipulated that the RTI applications and appeals received and their responses relating to the personal information of an individual may not be disclosed, as they do not serve any public interest. In the above context, we note that order No. CIC/SM/A/2009/001313 dated 29.6.2010 issued by the Commission in respect of the appeal concerning the RTI application of Shri Gautam Sen Gupta, did not indicate the nature of queries contained in the RTI application of Shri Sen Gupta. However, it is noted that Shri Sen Gupta had stated that the information sought by him concerned his life and liberty. Therefore, it is possible that the information sought by him may have been regarding certain issues personal to him. Accordingly, with regard to the queries at Sl. No. 1 (a), (b) and (c) of the RTI application dated 1.11.2013, we direct the CPIO to examine the matter in the light of the nature of queries contained in the RTI application dated 16.4.2009 of Shri Gautam Sen Gupta and the above mentioned guidelines of DOPT and take a decision regarding provision of the documents sought by the Appellant at the above queries. The CPIO should complete action on our above directive within twenty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. At point No. 2 of the RTI application, the Appellant has sought information regarding compliance by the Respondents with the Commission’s above mentioned order dated 29.6.2010. We note that this is a matter between the Appellant (Shri Gautam Sen Gupta), the Respondents and the Commission and see no reason why information on this issue should be disclosed to the Appellant. We further note that in his reply dated 14.12.2013, the CPIO has already provided some information in this regard and see no ground for disclosure of any further information to the Appellant.
4. We note that there was a short delay ranging from 13 to 16 days, over and above the stipulated period of thirty days, in responding to the RTI applications dated 18.6.2014 and 1.11.2013. We see no ground to establish a malafide intent on the part of the CPIO to delay provision of information or deny it. Therefore, while recalling to the CPIO his responsibility to ensure that replies to all RTI applications are given strictly within the timeframe stipulated in the RTI Act, we do not consider it necessary to take any further action in this regard. However, we direct the FAA to ensure that all the appeals filed to him on RTI matters are disposed of strictly in keeping with the provisions of the RTI Act and within the timeframe stipulated therein.
5. With the above directions and observations, the two appeals and one complaint are disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Chayan Ghosh Chowdhury v. Punjab & Sind Bank in File No. CIC/SH/C/2014/000448, CIC/SH/A/2014/003184 & CIC/SH/A/2014/000888