Using RTI for getting a copy of the evaluated answer sheets of the SSC examination
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) seeking the copy of the evaluated OMR sheet. There was a delay in providing the information for which the CIC had issued a show cause notice dated 28 February 2013 directing the PIO to appear before the bench and to explain why penalty should not be imposed on him under section 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Public Information Officer (PIO) submitted that the information could not be given in time because it could not be traced out on account of several examinations being under process during the period. He further explained that since the SSC examination related papers including the evaluated answer sheets were being dumped in huge volumes and extracting the desired information from such bundles was a very time consuming task.
After considering the explanation given by the PIO, the Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that generating a huge volume of papers by way of evaluated answer sheets by the SSC cannot be the sole reason for not providing the information. The CIC held that the CPIO should at least write to the Appellant in time and inform him about the difficulties in providing the information within the stipulated period. The CIC noted that the PIO has never taken the trouble of apprising the information seeker about the status of his RTI request and did not carry out the direction given by the FAA. Only after the PIO had left and someone else came in his place, some information was finally given in the appellant in month of November 2012.
View of CIC
The Commission held it as a case fit for imposing penalty and a penalty of Rs. 5000/- was imposed on PIO for not providing the information.
Citation: Mr. Pranaw Kumar Jha v. Staff Selection Commission in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001724
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1193
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission