RTI Application was filed on 23.8.2012 & APIO took no action on it - the FAA passed his order on 22.4.2013 on appeal filed on 15.10.2012 - CIC: FAA directed to follow time limit; send the names of APIO for issue of notice for penalty
According to the appeal, the Appellant filed an RTI application on 23.8.2012seeking information on eight points pertaining to “cutting down of trees without permission in RMRC Dollygunj situated at the land bearing survey no. 25/4 under TPB in the year2010”. Having received no reply within the stipulated time period, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 15.10.2012. The FAA vide his letter dated22.4.2013 held that the information sought by the Appellant did not pertain to the Tehsildar, Port Blair, to whom the RTI Application had been addressed. He further stated that information regarding cutting down of trees “by RMRC illegally the Appellant has to seek information from the concern department”. (sic). The Appellant approached the CIC in 2nd Appeal on 1.6.2013.
2. No one was present to represent the Respondents in spite of a written notice having been sent to the office of the Tehsildar, Port Blair. We heard the submissions of the Appellant. He submitted that the FAA’s order was not correct in stating that the Tehsildar, Port Blair was not concerned with the subject matter of the RTI Application. In this regard, he drew our attention to a report No. VF17/TPB/2012/1411, dated 4.8.2012, issued by the Office of the Tehsildar, Port Blair regarding cutting down of 44 trees on the land bearing survey No. 2574. In this context, we note that even if the subject matter of the RTI Application did not concern the Tehsildar, Port Blair, he was required to transfer this Application to the concerned Public Authority in terms of Section 6 (3) of the RTI Act. From available records, it appears that he failed to do so.
3. Taking into account the records and submissions before us, we direct the Tehsildar, Port Blair(APIO) to provide information in response to each of the queries in the RTI Application dated 23.8.2012, to the Appellant within three weeks from the receipt of this Order. In case, the Tehsildar, Port Blair (APIO) does not have information on some or all of the queries, contained in the above mentioned Application, he should transfer such queries to the concerned Public Authority(ies) within five days from the receipt of this Order, under intimation to the Appellant and this Commission. While doing so, he should also convey to such Public Authority(ies) the direction of this Commission to respond to the RTI queries strictly within the time frame laid down in the RTI Act, 2005.
4. We also note that this RTI Application has not been dealt with in keeping with the provisions of the RTI Act and in the timeframe stipulated in the said Act. The RTI Application was filed on 23.8.2012. The APIO took no action whatsoever on it. The Appeal to the FAA was filed on 15.10.2012 and the FAA passed his Order only on 22.4.2013, far beyond the time limit laid down in Section 19 (6) of the RTI Act. The FAA is directed to dispose of the appeals filed before him strictly within the timeframe laid down in the above Act. We also intend to go into the issue of the delay in responding to the RTI Application and provision of the information sought by the Appellant. In this context, we intend to issue a show cause notice to the concerned APIO(s). Accordingly, the FAA is directed to forward to us, within seven days of the receipt of this Order, the name(s) of the officers, who held charge of Tehsildar, Port Blair during the period 23.8.2012 to 22.4.2013,indicating in each case the period for which the officer concerned held this charge.
5. With the above directions, the appeal is disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri P Hamza v. Andaman And Nicobar Administration in File No. CIC/SM/A/2013/001125/SH