Areas that fall in the category of agricultural land as Greenbelt along border of NCT of Delhi - CIC: In larger public interest and u/s 19(8)(a)(iii), LG asked to initiate action to disclose Khasara numbers of villages which fall within Greenbelt
1. Further to Commission’s orders of even number dated 1 August 2013, 29 October 2013 and to December 2013, matter was heard again today. Respondents as recorded above and appellant appeared in person and made submissions. Shri Paramjit Singh, Deputy Director ( NL) DDA stated that he will coordinate the entire exercise of obtaining the complete plan of the Green Belt from Deputy Director (Planning), DDA and also obtain copy of the 'Sirja plan' from the Patwari Mal/ ADM – LAC office of the Deputy Commissioner (W) Rampura and after imposing the same on the master plan, he will identify the khasra numbers falling in the Greenbelt in respect of village Tikri Kalan and provide the same to the appellant.
2. After hearing the parties Commission accepts the plea of Shri Paramjit Singh Deputy Director (NL) as recorded above and directs the entire exercise be completed within 45 days of receipt of the order and the information provided to the appellant. This compilation of information is directed as per, the public interest over ride provision of the Act as held in Section 8(2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests. of RTI Act, 2005.
3. The Commission has heard this matter pertaining to the RTI application dated 28 January 2012 on four occasions in an attempt to identify the holder of information sought by the appellant and has been able to finally conclude the matter today. Undoubtedly, the matter of the RTI application is of larger public interest in that the citizens and the public at large must have access to specific information regarding the areas that fall in the category of agricultural land as Greenbelt along border of NCT of Delhi as described in clause 9.6 of the MPD – 2021. However it is evident that the specific village wise information is not available with any public authority including DDA or Revenue and Land and Building Departments of GNCTD. This situation leads to ambiguity and lends itself to arbitrary and corrupt practices. The policy of the government must be unfolded in the most clear and unambiguous manner before the citizens and no room must be left for any arbitrary flexibility in the hands of the field level officers while implementing the same. Therefore, Commission invites the attention of the honourable Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to this lacuna in the disclosure of information in larger public interest and recommends under the provisions of section 19(8) (a) (iii) of the RTI Act, 2005 that suitable directions be given to the concerned authorities to initiate to the exercise to disclose specific information in terms of Khasara numbers of each peripheral revenue village which fall within the agricultural land known as the Greenbelt in a time bound manner. Such disclosure of information will also be harmony with the preamble of the RTI Act, 2005 which clearly states that transparency of information is vital to the functioning of a democratic system and also contains corruption.
(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Harish Chander v. Land & Building Department (GNCT) in Adjunct III Appeal: No. CIC/AD/A/2012/002953/DS