Total gross amount of GGS ex-gratia paid to officers was denied stating that it was not available in material form - CIC: RTI Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such non available information; appeal rejected
1. The appellant, Shri Ashok U Manikoth, submitted RTI application dated January 25, 2014 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Mumbai seeking the names of the directors who attended and approved the Golden Gate Scheme for Voluntary Separation of Officers (GGS) in the Board meeting held on 15.10.2009, total number of officers who were relieved under GGS and total gross amount of GGS ex gratia paid to these officers from 2009 to 2012, through a total of 2 points.
2. The CPIO furnished a point wise reply to the appellant vide letter dated February 10, 2014 and also informed the appellant that information sought under point 2(b) was not available in material form. Not satisfied with the reply given by the CPIO concerned, the appellant preferred an appeal dated February 24, 2014 to the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA upheld the decision of the CPIO vide order dated March 17, 2014.
3. Dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred the present appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that he had not been given information on point 2 (b) of his application regarding the total gross amount of GGS exgratia paid to the officers. The respondents stated that the appellant was informed that they do not maintain such data and the same was not available in material form. Therefore could not be compiled and provided to the appellant. The respondents cited the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Central Board of Secondary Education and Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Ors. [(2011)8SCC497] wherein it was observed: “35. This is clear from a combined reading of Section 3 and the definitions of 'information' and 'right to information' under Clauses (f) and (j) of Section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analyzed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in Section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such nonavailable information and then furnish it to an applicant. A public authority is also not required to furnish information which require drawing of inferences and/or making of assumptions. It is also not required to provide 'advice' or 'opinion' to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any 'opinion' or 'advice' to an applicant. The reference to 'opinion' or 'advice' in the definition of 'information' in Section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority…”
5. In view of the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and submission made by the respondents, the Commission upholds the decision of the respondents. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Ashok U Manikoth v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., in Appeal No. CIC/MP/A/2014/000635