Copy of Charge Memo and other documents connected with a departmental proceedings were denied citing the matter as sub-judice - CIC expressed displeasure over the conduct of PIO in citing Section 8(1)(h) for denying information & warned him to be careful17 Jan, 2020
The Appellant requested to provide duplicate service book in the form of a certified copy in consonance with Rule 257(2)(3) and (4) of GFR, 2005 etc.
Grounds for the Second Appeal:
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Not present.
Respondent: Col. A.K. Goswami, Dy. Commandant & PIO, Remount Training School Depot, Hempur, U S Nagar, Uttarakhand present in person.
PIO submitted that copy of Service Book of the Appellant sought at para 1 of the RTI Application has been provided to the Appellant on 28.02.2018 after denying the same initially on 25.10.2017. He further submitted that copy of Charge Memo and other documents connected with the relevant departmental proceedings were provided to the Appellant during the hearing of departmental proceedings, hence not provided in response to the instant RTI Application.
Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that the CPIO has erred in denying the information sought in para 2 of the RTI Application citing the matter as sub-judice. It may be noted that there is no provision in RTI Act which allows denial of information on the grounds of sub-judice. In this regard, Commission relies on an order of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the matter of MCD vs. R.K. Jain, (WP(C) No. 14120/2009). The relevant extract of the order is reproduced hereunder:
“the matter being sub judice before a court is not one of the categories of information which is exempt from disclosure under any of the clauses of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.” Hence, merely stating that a matter is sub-judice would not be a sufficient ground for withholding information under the RTI Act”
In view of the above, Commission expresses displeasure over the conduct of CPIO in citing Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act for denying information sought in para 2 of the RTI Application. He is warned to be careful in future.
CPIO is directed to provide copy of Charge Memo and other documents connected with the relevant departmental proceedings sought at para 2 of the RTI Application to the Appellant free of cost within 15 days of receipt of this order and send a compliance report of the same to the Commission.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Divya Prakash Sinha
Citation: Musabbar v. CPIO, Remount Training School Depot, CPIO, Remount Training School Depot in File No : CIC/IARMY/A/2018/143104, Date of Decision : 02/01/2020