Appellant harped on the delay in reply and requested for penalizing the PIO - CIC: The contentions regarding delay are inconsequential in view of the fact that timely response with available information has been furnished by the PIO with his initial reply
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 18.01.2020 seeking the following information:
(a) Copy of the applications / letters together with its attachments received from MCGM for beautification of Mahim Beach on MbPT land at Mahim Reti Bunder
(b) copy of MbPT competent authority's sanction for handing over MbPT vacant area of 10,000 so, mfrs. Approx. at Mahim Reti Bunder to MCGM for beautification of Mahim Beach, etc.
(c) copy of MbPT’s letter to MCGM giving permission for above purpose
(d) copy of documents of handing over and taking over of said MbPT vacant land admeasuring 10,000 sq. mtrs between MbPT and MCGM together with its plan for said purpose of beautification of Mahim Beach.
(e) Copy of the plan of Beautification of Mahim Beach Phase I &Rand also MbPT-vacant and admeasuring of 10,000 sq. mtrs at Mahim Reti Plunder.
(f) copy of demarcation of MbPT as well as MCGM of MbPT land adm. 15,000 sq. mtrs. At Mahim Reti Bunder.
(h) Copy of permission given to MGM for erection of shed for opening ceremony on 12.1.20 at MbPT land at Mahim.
The CPIO replied to the appellant on 13.02.2020 stating as follows:-
“No such information available with Chief Engineer's Department, Mumbai Port Trust.”
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 27.02.2020. FAA’s order dated 28.04.2020 directed the CPIO as follows:-
“…………. CPIO Estate Division is hereby advised to examine intricacies related to RTI Act and take proper measures to supply information to Applicant within stipulated period without indulging into unwarranted correspondence. CPIO is further directed to provide available information in response to the RTI application dated 18.1.2020 of the Appellant. Further due to present lockdown in the wake of pandemic -COVID 19, CPIO, Estate Division is directed to provide available information by sending scanned copies of his reply on email to Appellant immediately within 10 days from receipt of this Order. Further, it is observed that the Appellant has enclosed Postal Order totally amounting to Rs.20 along with the Appeal which is not prescribed in the RTI Act and hence CPIO, Estate Division is further directed to return Postal orders of Rs.20 now attached by Appellant along with his Appeal dated 27.2.2020, once the pandemic is over and situation is normal.”
In compliance with FAA’s order, CPIO vide letters dated 30.04.2020 and 12.05.2020 furnished a detailed reply to the appellant. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, the appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio-conference.
Respondent: S.K. Chavan, Sr. Assistant Traffic Manager & CPIO, Estate Division present through audio-conference.
The CPIO submitted that a reply along with relevant inputs has already been provided to the Appellant as is evinced from letters dated 13.02.2020, 30.04.2020 and 12.05.2020. He further submitted that upon receipt of the hearing notice, a revised point wise reply along with additional information has also been furnished to the Appellant vide letter dated 21.01.2022.
To a query from the Commission, the Appellant affirmed the receipt of the averred replies, however he vehemently harped on the delay aspect and requested for penalizing the CPIO for providing a complete relevant information at such belated stage.
The CPIO while rebutting the Appellant’s contention submitted that information as per its availability at that time was provided to him earlier and subsequently, on receipt of the sanction for beautification of Mahim beach in 2021, the relevant information has been granted by MbPT on 24.08.2021 and thus complete information in this regard could not be made available to the Appellant with the earlier reply. He tendered his unconditional regret for the delay and explained that it was unintentional.
The Commission upon a perusal of facts on record finds no infirmity in the reply provided by the CPIO as it adequately suffices the information sought by the Appellant as per the provisions of RTI Act, leaving behind no scope of further relief in the matter.
Further, the contentions of the Appellant regarding delay is rendered inconsequential in view of the fact that timely response with available information has been furnished by the CPIO with his initial reply.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Yunus K Baluwala v. Mumbai Post Trust in File No. : CIC/MPTRS/A/2020/133198, Date of Decision : 25/01/2022