RTI application was not respond to on grounds that appellant had filed many RTI applications due to which there was confusion as reply on this subject matter was given earlier - CIC: SBI should be cautious and treat each RTI application separately
1. The appellant, Shri L Ratchagaraja, submitted RTI application dated October 17, 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Reserve Bank of India, Chennai; seeking information regarding action taken on his grievance/complaint sent by SMS, Index No. 155901 dt. 14.9.2013 etc.; through a total of 16 points. RBI transferred the RTI application to the SBI Mumbai vide their letter dated 24.10.2013 who subsequently transferred it to SBI, Chennai vide their letter dated 14.11.2013.
2. The appellant preferred an appeal dated January 29, 2014 to the first appellate authority (FAA), RBI & SBI when he did not receive any reply from the CPIO concerned. Vide letter dated February 7, 2014; the CPIO, Banking Ombudsman informed the appellant on point no. 14 that online complaint lodged on 13.10.2013 was already closed due to insufficient details and the same was intimated to the appellant on 18.10.2013. Vide order dated March 4, 2014; the FAA, RBI upheld the CPIO’s decision of transferring the application to the SBI u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act, 2005. Vide letter dated 17.2.2014, the Officer in Charge of RTI Cell, SBI, Chennai informed the appellant in response to his appeal dt. 29.1.2014 that the CPIO concerned of SBI had not received the RTI application dt. 17.10.2013 as it was made only to the RBI and they had only received it on 15.2.2014.
3. Dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant submitted that he was general secretary of the NPS Employees Association (NPSERA) and contented that the Govt. employees who had joined the service on or after 2004 had no social security in new pension scheme. In the year 2010 they had challenged the NPS scheme. In the meanwhile new body was elected and the account of the association was freezed by the bank without giving any intimation to him. He had lodged more than 10 complaints through emails and SMS but account was not defreezed. Therefore, he had filed the RTI application but he did not receive satisfactory information from the respondents.
5. The respondents from the RBI submitted that they had received the RTI application dt.17.10.2013 on 18.10.2013 at Banking Ombudsman (BO), Chennai and they transferred it to their RI Division on 21.10.2013. The entire list of queries pertained to SBI except point 14 which was related to Banking Ombudsman (BO). The BO gave the status of the complaint sought in point no. 14 to the appellant on the same day of the receipt of the RTI application i.e. on 18.10.2013 through email just to expedite the reply and later on through letter dated 7.2.2014, therefore there was no delay on their part. They transferred the RTI application to the SBI, Mumbai vide their letter dated 24.10.2013 for providing information on the rest of the points.
6. The respondents from the SBI submitted that they received the RTI application only on 15.2.2014 from the RBI. They gave a reply on 17.2.2014. They explained that the account of the association was freezed on the behest of new accountant of the association who was appointed after the change in the body of the association. The present president of the association had filed a case in the District Munsif Court, Punamally. They stated that the appellant had filed many RTI applications and complaints due to which there was some confusion as they had already given the reply on this subject matter to the appellant on earlier occasions.
7. After hearing both the parties, the Commission observes that the respondents from RBI had done their job as per the mandate of the RTI Act, 2005; whereas the respondents from SBI had not handled the matter properly at their end. The Commission cautions them against repeating the same mistake again in future and advises them to treat each RTI application individually and separately on its merits. The Commission directs the respondents from the SBI to furnish a point wise reply to the appellant as per the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 within 10 days of the receipt of the order of the Commission. The Commission also advises the FAA of the SBI to be more careful while sending the reply to the appellant as he did not take cognizance of the fact that his CPIO had received the application duly sent by the SBI, Mumbai to them. With these directions, the appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri L Ratchagaraja v. Banking Ombudsman, Reserve Bank of India in Appeal No. CIC/MP/A/2014/000871