NRHM claimed that expenditure related details with respect to the projects are held by the concerned State Government - Andhra Pradesh Information Commission had communicated that the Second Appeal should be addressed to the CIC - NRHM to explain
NRHM claimed that information sought by the Appellant is not held by them whereas expenditure related details with respect to the projects are held by the concerned State Government - Andhra Pradesh Information Commission had communicated that his Second Appeal should be addressed to the CIC -In view of the lack of clarity about the actual custodian of information, the CIC directed the NRHM to explain why no information is held by them and who is the actual custodian of information in this case; Transfer the RTI Application if not already transferred, with a copy marked to the Appellant
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 17.05.2015 seeking information on following paragraph:
“I made application on 24-03-2015 requiring information about Audit, but you have replied that it is not come under the purview of you. So, I request you to please inform me that the funds of the PHC are belongs to which audit.”
Having not received any reply from the PIO, the Appellant filed a First Appeal dated nil which was also not adjudicated by the First Appellate Authority.
Therefore, the Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal. A letter dated 06.04.2016 is found on record whereby in response to his earlier RTI Application dated 12.03.2015, the Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Information Commission had communicated to the Appellant that his queries relate to the “National Rural Health Mission”, which falls under the jurisdiction of Central Government, hence his Second Appeal should be addressed to the Central Information Commission.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
A written submission dated 04.03.2021 has been received from the Appellant.
Written submission dated 04.03.2021 has been received from the District Audit Officer, State Audit Department, Srikakulam stating that in response to the Appellant’s letter dated 21.03.2015, he had been duly informed vide communication dated 15.04.2015 that the purview of audit of the PHC funds is not under the jurisdiction of State Audit Department. Since the RTI application dated 17.05.2015 had not been received by the District Audit Officer, State Audit, Srikakulam hence no reply could be sent.
Another submission dated 09.03.2021 has been received from US, GoI, NHM, Finance Division reiterating the above facts. In order to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of the pandemic, COVID-19, hearings through video conference were scheduled after giving prior notice to both the parties. Respondents from NRHM and District Audit Office are heard through video conference and reiterate the above contentions, whereas Appellant was not present for the hearing, despite service of notice in advance of hearing.
During the course of hearing the District Audit Officer replied that they do not conduct audits for the NRHM, which are done through the District Medical and Health Officer through office of the Accountant General of AP. The representative from NRHM responded that they had no knowledge of the instant RTI application till receipt of the notice of hearing from the CIC.
Upon examining the facts of the case, the position so emerges that “Health” is a subject matter which falls in the Concurrent list of the Constitution. The Respondents from NRHM claim that information sought by the Appellant is not held by them whereas expenditure related details with respect to the projects are held by the concerned State Government.
In view of the lack of clarity about the actual custodian of information, the Commission hereby directs Respondent from NRHM to:
a) file their submissions explaining why no information is held by them and who is the actual custodian of information in this case;
b) the RTI Application ought to have been transferred by the Respondent and if not already transferred, the same shall be done and a comprehensive report shall be filed by the Respondent from NRHM by 15.04.2021, with a copy marked to the Appellant.
The appeal is disposed off on the above terms.
Y. K. Sinha
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri G. Venkataramana v. PIO, Dist. Audit Officer, State Audit, PIO, Dist. Audit Officer, State Audit, and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Second Appeal No. CIC/DIROA/A/2017/175616/MH&FW, Date of Decision: 18.03.2021