Updated status of a matter related to registered Trade Mark - PIO: Most of the information sought is already available on their website - Appellant: Website was not working - CIC: PIO to provide a revised reply; FAA cautioned to follow the RTI regime
Updated status of a matter related to registered Trade Mark - PIO: Most of the information sought is already available on their website - Appellant: The official website of the respondent organisation was not working for almost a year - CIC: PIO to re-visit the RTI application and provide a revised reply; FAA cautioned to strictly follow the RTI regime while disposing of appeals and pass a speaking order
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Updated status pertaining to the matter of C.O.D No. 2 of 2016 in SR No. 6/2016/TM/DEL in relation to the registered Trade Mark No. 760641.
2. Detailed particulars of the action taken by IPAB on representation dated 07/12/2018.
3. Detailed particulars and reasons, if no action has been taken on the representation dated 07/12/2018.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The appellant has stated in his RTI application that the CPIO did not furnish the desired and complete information/documents.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO as the desired information was not provided to him. He also stated that the FAA did not dispose of his appeal.
The CPIO reiterated the contents of his reply dated 02.01.2019. He further submitted that most of the information sought by the appellant is already available on their website. At this point, the appellant raised an objection and submitted that the official website of the respondent organisation was not working for almost a year and this was deliberately done by them to sabotage the information sought by him.
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that an apt reply was given to the appellant on point no. 1 of the RTI application where it was stated that the matter will be listed on 05.07.2019 before the Hon’ble Board. With regard to the rest of the points, it was stated that with regard to the other queries pertaining to the pending matters in which the appellant do not represent as a counsel, he may move such appeal in the prescribed manner before the appropriate authority and in case any detail is sought with regard to the third party status, the same will be provided as per the requirement of the law. This reply was not proper as neither a categorical reply was given nor any exemption was claimed as per the provisions of the RTI Act by the CPIO to deny the information. Under such circumstances, the CPIO is directed to consider the RTI application afresh and provide a revised and point-wise reply to the appellant as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
Moreover, in the instant matter the First Appeal was also not responded to which was a violation of Section 19 (6) of the RTI Act, 2005. In this context, the Commission referred to the OM No. 20/10/23/2007-IR dated 09.07.2009 issued by the DOPT wherein while elaborating on the duties and responsibilities of the FAA, it was stated that:
"3. Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see that the justice is not only done but it should also appear to have been done. In order to do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at.
5..............................The Act provides that the first appellate authority would be an officer senior in rank to the CPIO. Thus, the appellate authority, as per provisions of the Act, would be an officer in a commanding position vis a vis the CPIO. Nevertheless, if, in any case, the CPIO does not implement the order passed by the appellate authority and the appellate authority feels that intervention of higher authority is required to get his order implemented, he should bring the matter to the notice of the officer in the public authority competent to take against the CPIO. Such competent officer shall take necessary action so as to ensure implementation of the RTI Act. "
In view of the above, the CPIO is directed to re-visit the RTI application and provide a revised reply to the appellant on all the points raised in the RTI application as per the provisions of the RTI Act. This direction is to be complied with within a period of 20 days after the lockdown is lifted under intimation to the Commission. The Commission also cautions the FAA to strictly follow the RTI regime while disposing of appeals and pass a speaking order, after taking due cognizance of the merits of each case. A copy of this order is marked to the concerned FAA for his information. The present CPIO is directed to serve a copy of this order on the FAA immediately upon the receipt of the order.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Kamal Kishore Arora v. Intellectual Property Appellate Board(IPAB) in Decision no.: CIC/CGPDT/A/2019/110851/03514, Date of Decision: 19/05/2020