Transfer of application - In Ministries with multiple divisions, the RTI Cell which receives all RTI applications must forward them to the PIO of the respective divisions strictly based on the information sought
1. In his RTI application, dated 5 November 2012, the Appellant had raised a number of queries seeking information about the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and the environmental clearance granted to various projects in its neighbourhood. It appears that the RTI application, although addressed to the CPIO of the National Board for Wildlife, was marked to the Impact Assessment Division of the Ministry which was concerned with only one of the queries. The CPIO of that Division had written to the Appellant and provided some information. Later, the CPIO representing the Wildlife Division of the Ministry had also written to the Appellant, though late, and provided some more information concerning their division.
2. We have carefully considered the facts of the case. Between both the CPIOs representing the National River Conservation Directorate and the Impact Assessment Division and the Wildlife Division, all his queries have been addressed and the requisite information provided.
3. Therefore, the only issue which remains to be considered is the delay on the part of the respective CPIO in providing the information. The original RTI application was received in the RTI cell of the Ministry and marked to the Impact Assessment Division of the Ministry instead of the Wildlife Division
although bulk of the queries pertained to the latter. It appears the Wildlife Division got to know about the RTI application only when the first appeal was filed. That explains the delay on their part. We would like to advise the Ministry to ensure that the RTI Cell which receives all RTI applications must forward
those applications to the CPIO of the respective divisions of the Ministry strictly based on the information sought. Since most RTI applications are likely to contain a variety of queries falling within the domain of more than one division of the Ministry, the distribution of the RTI requests almost in parallel and simultaneously among the various divisions concerned would help in eliminating any delay as has happened in this case.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. Vikrant Togar v. Ministry of Environment & Forests in Case No. CIC/SM/C/2013/000200