RTI application seeking information regarding quality of drinking water
The appellant had written three letters to the Chief Minister and to the Chairman, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) seeking safe and quality drinking water. In this connection, he filed Right to Information (RTI) application seeking the status report on the action taken on the three letters by DJB, the number of complaints received by DJB and action taken on them, whether it is a fact that sewer lines are full from House and are not flowing and get emptied, the action taken against the officer responsible for the lapses on proper maintenance of sewer lines, whether any desilting was carried out in the sewer lines from house after receipt of the complaints etc.. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided point wise information to the appellant. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) stated that as reported by Executive Engineer (EE) (NW) III field staff is already on the job and trying to remove hidden contamination. The FAA directs the EE to look into the matter personally to sort out the problem at the earliest.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that there was no information in the records about the three letters. The appellant insisted that the information provided by the respondent in respect of the work that they have done after receiving the complaints is incorrect. The appellant held that no work has been undertaken in the area as recorded by the FAA. The respondent stated that the maintenance work was taken up and that it was done after some complaints were received.
The appellant stated that he had received another reply from the EE, informing him that quality of water was checked in the presence of the concerned officer in the area and that all the samples were found to be alright. The appellant stated that this contention of the EE was incorrect and that the water remains contaminated and not fit for consumption.
View of CIC
The Commission held that as there was no information in the records about the three letters so no information could be provided to the appellant. The CIC directed the PIO to inform the appellant formally in writing about the non availability of the letters in the records and also clarify that action was taken based on other complaints received from the residents of the said area. The Commission observed that it would be in the interest of the appellant if the respondent affirm their position in an affidavit to the Commission with a copy to the appellant stating that work was undertaken in the said area while enclosing documentary evidence in respect of the work undertaken, dates and officials who were responsible for completion of work. The Commission directed the PIO to include in the affidavit, the dates on which the water quality was tested and the places where samples were taken from as also the water quality test reports to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. P L Sharma v. Delhi Jal Board in File No: CIC/AD/A/2012/001825
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/708
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