Central Information Commission
Dated January 30, 2009
Name of the Appellant:Mr. R P Sharma
Name of the Public Authority:Deptt. of Posts, New Delhi
1. The Appellant filed an RTI request dt.04.10.2008 with the CPIO, Department of Post, Office of the SSPO North Division, New Delhi. He requested for information regarding FIR No. 199 lodged on 24.06.04 at P.S. Roop Nagar in connection with fraudulent/fake encashment of NSCs issued from the Post Office Shamli at Shakti Nagar. In his RTI application, the applicant sought information as to whether the said FIR was at all lodged; if so against whom; whether any of the accused persons was an official/ex-employee of the Department; status of recovery, if any; status of the investigation and also a copy of the said FIR.
2. The CPIO replied on 17.10.08 stating that the information sought pertains to a case against one Bhim Singh, who was an Ex- PA of the Department and has been identified as one of the subsidiary offender in the fraud case. Remaining information was denied from being disclosed seeking exemption under Section 8(1) (h) of the RTI Act 2005 on the ground that the disclosure of the information pertaining to the case which was still pending adjudication was likely to impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
3. The Appellant filed an appeal dated 23.10.08 with the Appellate Authority reiterating his request for the information and challenging the order of the CPIO on the ground of the same being arbitrary, illegal and violative of the principles of natural justice and fair play. The First Appellate Authority replied on 18.11.08 upholding the decision of the CPIO. Aggrieved with the reply of the First Appellate Authority, the Appellant filed a second appeal dated 30.11.2008 before CIC.
4. The Bench of Mrs. Annapurna Dixit, Information Commissioner, scheduled the hearing for February 4th, 2009. The CIC vide its communication dated 22.01.2009 invited comments on the appeal.
5. The Appellant was present during the hearing.
6. The representatives of the Public Authority Mr. Jagdish Chugh, Inspector Post and Mr. Lokesh Sharma, PA arrived at around 3pm i.e. later than the time fixed for hearing. Since some new angles of the case emerged from the submissions of the representative of the Public Authority, a fresh hearing was scheduled on February 6, 2009 at 4.00pm.
7. The Respondents furnished their reply to the instant appeal wherein apart from a brief history of the case it was submitted that the information sought by the Appellant could not be disclosed by the Department since disciplinary proceedings were pending against Bhim Singh, the Ex-PA of the department who had been accused as one of the subsidiary offenders in the fake encashment of NSC case. Hence the Respondent sought exemption under the Section 8(1) (h) of the RTI Act 2005 apprehending that the information if disclosed could lead to the process of investigation being impeded.
8. After hearing the arguments of both the parties at length, the Commission arrived at the conclusion that the information sought by the Appellant basically pertains to the FIR No. 199 lodged on 24.06.04 at P.S. Roop Nagar, which is already a public document in a public domain, hence disclosure of information relating to the same cannot impede the investigation. Moreover since the investigation referred to by the Respondent relates to the Departmental disciplinary proceedings, investigation whereof cannot be impeded by disclosure of information about the FIR since both are mutually independent and distinct proceedings. Hence the Commission directs the CPIO to provide information pertaining to the FIR as sought by the Appellant in the RTI application.
Authenticated true copy:
1. Mr. R P Sharma
Delhi 110 034
2. The CPIO &
The Sr. Supdt. of Post Offices (A)
Department of Posts
Office of Sr. Supdt. of Post Offices
Delhi North Division
Delhi – 110 054
3. The Appellate Authority &
The Director of Postal Services
Department of Posts
Office of Chief Postmaster General
Delhi Circle New Delhi – 110 001
4. Officer in charge, NIC
5. Press E Group, CIC