RTI – Due diligence under section20 (1)

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

F.No. CIC/AT/A/2006/00066
Dated the 4th July, 2006

Appellant: Dr. A.S.D. Roy, STA (G), MM Cell, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan, Civil Lines, Nagpur-440010.

Respondents: Shri C.S. Gundewar, Chief Ore Dressing Officer & Appellate Authority, Indira Bhawan, Civil Lines, Nagpur 440 010.

Shri S.K. Ghosal, CEO, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan, Civil Lines, Nagpur-440 010.

Shri V.K. Misar, JMG & Asstt. PIO, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan, Ground Floor, Civil Lines, Nagpur 440 010.

This is not so much an appeal under Section 19 of the RTI Act as it is a complaint under Section 18 of the Act against the CPIO, Shri V.K. Misar of Indian Bureau of Mines for his failure to supply the requested information to the appellant within stipulated 30 days period.

2. The parties were called for hearing today (3.7.06). The complainant was absent whereas the respondents were represented by Shri S.K. Ghosal, CAO and V.K. Misar, JMG & APIO, Indian Bureau of Mines, Nagpur.

3. Briefly stated the facts are as follows:-

The complainant, Dr. A.S.D. Roy, on 20.12.05, filed his request for certain information with the CPIO , IBM, Shri V.K. Misar. When the appellant did not receive any information within the stipulated period, he filed an appeal before Shri Ashok Kumar, Controller of Mines (Coord) & AA, IBM, Nagpur. The AA issued instructions to the CPIO on 23.1.06 to furnish the information requested by the complainant at the earliest. According to the complainant, over 60 days have elapsed from the date of his first request for information, but no information has been provided to him.

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4. The CPIO and the AA have admitted that there was delay in transmitting the information to the complainant. They have, however, pointed out that given the type and the range of the information as requested by the complainant viz.

“1. Proposal to accord Gazetted status to STA (Geology) sent to Min. of Mines, New Delhi Vide IBM letter No. A-20012/1/1/2002-ENG dated 08/10/2004.

2. Query made by DOPT/MoM, New Delhi on the above proposal if any and Ministry of Mines letter No. 26/3/2001-MIII, dated 07/12/2004.

3. Reply to the above queries, if any by IBM Nagpur and IBM letter No.A-20012/1/1/2002-ENG dated 30.12.2004.

4. Copy of the RR proposal sent by IBM as per Ministry of Mines letter No.26(3)/201-MIII dated 22.03.2005,” the delay became unavoidable.

The CPIO has given the reasons for delay and has pleaded that there were reasonable grounds that would explain its occurrence. It is their plea that the information requested by the complainant had to be collected from a number of sources. The CPIO received the information from all concerned only in March, 06 and it was promptly transmitted to the complainant. The CPIO has filed before us chronological details of the processing of the complainant’s request for information by the HoO, Shri Chandramouli, who has now retired.

5. It is not denied that there has been delay in transmitting the information to the complainant within the period of 30 days. However, there is evidence that there was exercise of due diligence by all concerned to collect and supply this information. Unfortunately, time consumed in internal processing took a while longer than it should.
The CPIO also pointed out that since this was one of the first Right to Information related cases they were handling, they wanted to be absolutely sure about the information to be supplied to the complainant. This excessive caution did contribute to some of the delay.

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6. It may have been a lot better if the CPIO had kept the complainant periodically informed about the stages of the processing of his case and taken him into confidence about the possibility of some delay. Nevertheless, we agree with the CPIO and AA that the occurrence of delay was not intentional. We accept the plea of reasonable grounds for the delay which unfortunately occurred in this case. However, it is our conclusion that no case of deliberate delay or negligence against the respondents could be made out.
In overall considerations of all factors, the case against the respondents for causing delay is dropped.

7. The complaint is rejected.
Sd/- Sd/-
(A.N. TIWARI) (PROF. M.M. ANSARI)
INFORMATION COMMISSIONER INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

Authenticated by –

Sd/-
(L.C. Singhi)
ADDITIONAL REGISTRAR

Address of parties:

1. Dr. A.S.D. Roy, STA (G), MM Cell, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan,
Civil Lines, Nagpur-440010.

2. Shri C.S. Gundewar, Chief Ore Dressing Officer & Appellate Authority, Indira
Bhawan, Civil Lines, Nagpur 440 010.

3. Shri S.K. Ghosal, CEO, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan, Civil Lines,
Nagpur-440 010.

4. Shri V.K. Misar, JMG & Asstt. PIO, Indian Bureau of Mines, Indira Bhawan,
Ground Floor, Civil Lines, Nagpur 440 010.

5. Incharge, NIC.

6. Press E Group.

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