Third party information disclosed despite having knowledge that the order of the FAA was challenged before CIC - CIC: disclosure has been made in violation of the provisions of Section 19(4) and 19(7) - compensation of Rs. 10,000/ to the third party
RTI application dated 19 June 2012 was submitted by Shri Sunil Kumar Bahl before the CPIO, Estate Office, U.T., Chandigarh seeking information relating to supply of photocopy of file of House No. 3327, Sector 23D, Chandigarh.
2. Vide CPIO Order dated 13 July 2012, CPIO informed the appellant that the record file of the said property was under action and as and when the said file is received back by his branch the reply will be sent to the appellant.
3. Not satisfied by the CPIO’s reply, the Appellant preferred First Appeal to the First Appellate Authority dated 20 July 2012.
4. Vide FAA Order dated 26 October 2012, the FAA directed the CPIO to get the ownership file inspected to the appellant.
5. Being aggrieved and not satisfied by the above response of the Public Authority, Third Party Shri Raj Kumar Bahl preferred Appeal before the Commission.
6. Matter was heard today. The third party – appellant and respondent as above appeared before the Commission today. Shri Raj Kumar Bahl, third party appellant, stated that he had provided a copy of the appeal made by him before the Commission to the respondents. The statement was supported by appropriate receipt. However, inspite of this, the information requested for by the RTI Applicant, Shri Sunil Kumar Bahl was disclosed to him by the CPIO on 29.5.2013 and photo copies of all the documents were provided to him. CPIO stated that he had taken over the charge on 29.5.2013 and that the former CPIO Sh. Keshav Chander (since retired) had directed on file on 8.5.2013 to disclose the requested information to the appellant.
7. After hearing all the parties, the Commission notes that respondents have disclosed information to the RTI applicant Sh. Sunil Kumar Bahl inspite of having full knowledge of the fact that the third party namely Shri Raj Kumar Bahl had challenged the order of the FAA and the matter was pending for disposal before Central Information Commission. It is noted that this disclosure has been made in violation of the provisions of Section 19(4) If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to that third party. and 19(7) The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding. of the Act. Therefore, the view of the Commission is that this is a fit case for awarding the compensation to the complainant as per provisions of Section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the Act. Accordingly, the Estate Office, Union Territory, Chandigarh is directed to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000/ to the third party appellant namely Shri Raj Kumar Bahl within two weeks on receipt of the orders. This amount will be disbursed within two weeks of receipt of the order. The Commission is of the view that the onus of overruling the directions of the previous CPIO lies on the current CPIO who should have over ruled the outgoing CPIO and not disclosed the information during the pendency of the appeal before Commission. He is warned to be more careful in future.
(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Raj Kumar Bahl v. Estate Office in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2013/000338
Original RTI applicant - Shri Sunil Kumar Bahl