CIC expresses severe displeasure over the conduct of the then PIO for not providing timely reply
Through an application dated 27.07.2020, the applicant requested the PIO, Vigilance Department, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), to provide the following information with respect to his complaint detailed below:
“Reference to my complaint titled as “Massive Corruption in Corridors of New Delhi Municipal Council, New Delhi, in disbursement of Arrears to Retired Engineers accumulated consequent upon implementation of DTL Pay Scales” addressed to The Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi, Dated 05.03.2018 UNDER PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE & PROTECTION OF INFORMERS RESOLUTIONS, circulated by Office Memorandum No. 371/4/2013-AVD-III Dated 16th June, 2014 by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Department of Personnel and Training.
In pursuance of Procedure for handling of complaints under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers (PIDPI) Resolution dated 21.04.2004 as stipulated, the Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi after having examined the complaint, has decided to send this complaint to Designate Authority Chief Vigilance Officer of New Delhi Municipal Council, New Delhi, with reference Office Memorandum Dated 16th June 2014, for necessary action, and to look into the matter and take such action as deemed fit under letter No. CONF/8253/18/392253 Dated 23.08.2018.
Particulars of information sought:
- Certified copy of note sheet indicating noting by various officials and decision of competent authority on my complaint dated 05.03.2018 forwarded to Designated Authority/ CVO, NDMC, by CVC under letter No. CONF/8253/18/392253 dated: 23.08.2018, as per PIDPI resolution.
- Certified copy of investigation report or feedback obtained with respect to concerned authority / subordinate office i. e. officials of Finance and personnel department, as a follow up action based on my complaint dated 05.03.2018 forwarded to Designated Authority/ CVO, NDMC, by CVC under letter No. CONF/8253/18/392253 dated: 23.08.2018, as per PIDPI resolution.
- Certified copy of letter, directions and/or instructions issued to concerned authorities/ subordinate office as a follow up action based on my complaint dated 05.03.2018, as stipulated in PIDPI under para 8, 9 and 10.
- In case no action is taken on my complaint dated 05.03. 2018 forwarded to Designated Authority/ CVO, NDMC by CVC under letter No. CONF/8253/18/392253 dated: 23.08.2018, as per PIDPI resolution, please inform me the name of officer(s) and staff responsible, but failed to take action on my complaint dated 05.03.2018.”
Before the CIC, the appellant pleaded that the information supplied is misleading, false and frivolous which shows that PIO has deliberately ignored the “Procedure for handling of complaints under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers (PIDPI) Resolution dated 21.4.2004 to Be followed by the designation authority (CVOs or Ministries/Department).
The Appellant sought information is as under:
- Names of the 87 retired/working engineers who has been considered by the Screening Committee meeting held on 22nd April 2019 may be provided.
- Copies of noting containing the decision-making process for holding careening committee meeting may also be made available as per provision of RTI Act, 2005.
The Complainant sought following information regarding:
- Certified copies u/s 2(j)(ii) of the RTI Act, 2005, of the note sheets / correspondence for the approval sought from the Public Authority for filling the WPC 5139/17 by Jt. Director (Civil) through Vaibhav Annihotri Advocate, in Delhi High Court, Delhi, be provided.
- Certified copies u/s 2(j)(ii) of the RTI Act, 2005, of the note sheets / correspondence, seeking approval from Public Authority for the filing special leave petition No. 5463/2018 in supreme court to Appeal against the order passed by the high court on 27.07.2017 in WPC No. 5139/2017.
- Certified copies u/s 2(j)(ii) of approval sought from the competent Public Authority for the appointment of the services of Sh. Vaibhav Agnihotri in High Court and service of Learned ASG Mr. P S Narsimha in Supreme Court and amount paid to them public exchequer.
The appellant cited many decisions of the Courts as under:-
1. Hon’ble Delhi High Court in J.P. Aggarwal v. Union of India WP (C) no. 7232/2009 wherein it was held that:
- “It is the PIO to whom the application is submitted and it is who is responsible for ensuring that the information as sought is provided to the applicant within the statutory requirements of the Act. Section 5(4) is simply to strengthen the authority of the PIO within the department; if the PIO finds a default by those from whom he has sought information. The PIO is expected to recommended a remedial action to be taken.” The RTI Act makes the pivot for enforcing the implementation of the Act.”
- The PIO is expected to apply his/her mind, duly analysis the material before him/her and then either disclose the information sought or give ground for non-disclosure.
2. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Shri Vivek Mittal v. B.P. Srivastava. W.P.(C) 19122/2006 dated 24.8.2009 had upheld the view of CIC and observed
- “…… that a CPIO cannot escape his obligations and duties by stating that persons appointed under him had failed to collect documents and information. The Act as framed, casts obligation upon the CPIOs and fixes responsibility in case there is failure or delay in supply of information. It is duty of the CPIOs to ensure that the provisions of the Act are fully complied with and in case of default, necessary consequences follow”.
3. Furthermore, the Hon’ble High court of Delhi in the matter of R.K. Jain vs Union of India, LPA No. dated 369/2018, dated 29.08.2018, held as under:
“9……. That apart, the CPIO being the custodian of the information or the documents sought for, primarily responsible under the scheme of the RTI Act to supply the information and in case of default or dereliction on his part, the penal action is to be invoked against him only.
In the appeal / complaint before the CIC, the appellant sought:
- To direct the PIO of Vigilance Department to provide correct and complete information on his RTI application including certified copies/documents as requested.
- To impose Penalty under section 20 (1) and (2) on the PIO for not providing information as solicited in RTI application.
- To take strong disciplinary actions, under service rule of Government/Public Authority under section 20 of RTI Act, 2005.
- To pay him compensation Rs 20,000/- for mental Harassment and financial loss as per Section 19 (8) (b) of RTI Act, 2005.
1. In the matter of CIC/NDMCN/A/2020/693402, the CIC observed that the concerned Respondent Authority has already furnished an appropriate reply to the Appellant. Therefore, the PIO, O/o Vigilance Department, NDMC, was directed to furnish a copy of their reply, vide letter dated 05.11.2020 & 25.05.2021, to the Appellant, free of cost via speed post, within 30 days.
2. In the matter of CIC/NDMCN/C/2019/659375, the CIC expressed severe displeasure over the conduct of the then PIO in not having provided any proper reply on the RTI Application within the stipulated time frame of RTI Act. Commission was unable to procure the name of the then PIO, O/o Jt. Director (Civil), Civil Estt., NDMC. Therefore, Commission directed then PIO through the present PIO to send his written submissions to justify as to why action should not be initiated against him/her under Section 20 of the RTI Act for the gross violation of its provisions.
3. In the matter of CIC/NDMCN/A/2019/142242, CIC directed the concerned PIO, O/o Jt. Director (Civil), Civil Estt., NDMC, to revisit the RTI Application and provide an updated point-wise reply to the Appellant, free of cost via speed post, within 30 days. In doing so, the PIO should not disclose information which is exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act, 2005.
Citation: Vinod Kumar Garg v. PIO (Vig.), New Delhi Municipal Council and PIO (Vig.), New Delhi Municipal Council in Second Appeal No.: CIC/NDMCN/A/2020/693402+ CIC/NDMCN/A/2019/142242 and Complaint No.: CIC/NDMCN/C/2019/659375, Date of Decision: 28.05.2021