Appellant sought to know the reasons for not replying to his representation sent to Dr. Jitendra Singh relating to the implementation of provisions of reservation with retrospective effect - CIC: Relief sought is not amenable to the jurisdiction of CIC
The Appellant filed an online RTI application dated 04.02.2020 seeking to know the reasons for not replying to his representation sent to Dr. Jitendra Singh on 03.12.2019 related to the implementation of provisions of reservation with retrospective effect in the central autonomous body ICAR Govt. of India and his reminder letter of 05.1.2020.
The CPIO replied to the appellant on 11.02.2020 stating as follows:-
“lt is informed that a copy of action taken on your representation referred in your application is enclosed.”
The enclosure to the reply read as under:
“………….Subject:- Denial of reservation in promotion in r/o Shri P.Bala Brahmaiah, Ex-Deputy Secretary of ICAR, GoI—reg. The undersigned is directed to forward herewith, in original, the above mentioned representation, dated 05.01.2020, received from Shri P.Bala Brahmaiah, Ex-Deputy Secretary, ICAR, for action as appropriate, as the subject matter comes under the administrative domain of ICAR, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.”
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 10.03.2020. FAA’s order dated 16.04.2020 upheld the reply of CPIO.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied that DoPT merely forwarded his representation to ICAR but did not take any action on it, appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio conference.
Respondent: Debabrata Das, US & CPIO present through audio conference.
The Appellant stated that he is aggrieved with the reply of the CPIO. The CPIO submitted that a factual reply was provided to the Appellant.
The Commission having perused the facts on record and the grounds of the Second Appeal counselled the Appellant that the relief sought for by him is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Commission under the RTI Act as he had challenged the inaction/action of DoPT on his averred representation.
In furtherance of the proceedings during the hearing, the attention of the Appellant is drawn towards a catena of judgments of the superior Courts wherein similar observations have been regarding the amenability of dispute resolution to the jurisdiction of the Commission under the RTI Act.
In particular, reference may be had of a judgment of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of Hansi Rawat and Anr. v. Punjab National Bank and Ors. (LPA No.785/2012) dated 11.01.2013 wherein it has been held as under:
"6. The proceedings under the RTI Act do not entail detailed adjudication of the said aspects. The dispute relating to dismissal of the appellant No.2 LPA No.785/2012 from the employment of the respondent Bank is admittedly pending consideration before the appropriate fora. The purport of the RTI Act is to enable the appellants to effectively pursue the said dispute. The question, as to what inference if any is to be drawn from the response of the PIO of the respondent Bank to the RTI application of the appellants, is to be drawn in the said proceedings and as aforesaid the proceedings under the RTI Act cannot be converted into proceedings for adjudication of disputes as to the correctness of the information furnished."(Emphasis Supplied)
While, the Apex Court in the matter of Union of India vs Namit Sharma (Review Petition [C] No.2309 of 2012) dated 03.09.2013 observed as under:
“20. …While deciding whether a citizen should or should not get a particular information “which is held by or under the control of any public authority”, the Information Commission does not decide a dispute between two or more parties concerning their legal rights other than their right to get information in possession of a public authority….” (Emphasis Supplied)
And, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the matter of Income Tax Officer vs. Gurpreet Kaur (W.P.[C] 2113/2019) dated 21.10.2019 has placed reliance on the aforesaid observation of the Apex Court in Namit Sharma’s case to emphasize as under:
“8. In light of the judgment of the Supreme Court, the powers of the Commission are confined to the powers as stated in the RTI Act….”
Having observed as above, the Appellant is advised to pursue his grievance before the appropriate forum.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: P Balabrahmaiah v. Department of Personnel and Training in File No: CIC/DOP&T/A/2020/117065, Date of Decision: 23/09/2021