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RTI to MHA on PIL, Guidelines and 498A

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan,
Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi-110066

Decision No. CIC/SB/C/2016/00354

Dated 13.07.2017

Appellant : Shri Yogesh Mahajan
C-1-117, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi- 110024

Respondent : The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO),
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block, New Delhi- 110001

Date of Hearing : 13.07.2017

Relevant dates emerging from the Appeal:

RTI application : 08.01.2016
First Appeal : 15.03.2016
Second Appeal : 20.06.2016

ORDER

1. The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), seeking information pertaining to the action taken on his representation dated 12.12.2015 which was sent via email to the MHA petitioning against the Guidelines prepared by the Social Action Forum in the name of Uniform Policy for the registration of the First Information Reports (FIR), arrest and bail in the cases filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The appellant also stated that the subject matter of his representation dated 12.12.2015 is also the focal point of adjudication in Public Interest Litigation (PIL)/Writ Petition [W. P. (C)] No. 73/2015 pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

2. The appellant filed a second appeal before the Commission on the grounds that the requisite information was not furnished by the CPIO. The appellant requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide the information sought.

Hearing:

3. The appellant Shri Yogesh Mahajan was not present despite notice. The respondents, Shri Lokesh C. Singh, Section Officer, Ministry of Home Affairs and Shri A. K. Nigam, Deputy Secretary, were present in person.

4. The respondent submitted that the RTI application of the appellant was received in their office after being forwarded by the Co-ordination Division, MHA on 21.03.2016. However, since the representation dated 12.12.2015 was not received in their section, no reply concerning it could be furnished to the appellant. The respondent also stated that he was not aware of the pendency of PIL/ W. P. (C) No. 73/ 2015, since no notice had been received in their department concerning the same. The respondent further submitted that in another matter the appellant had sought similar information through RTI application dated 09.01.2015, and with respect to that the Commission had passed an Order dated 09.06.2016, with a direction to the MHA to inform the appellant about the status of his representation. In compliance with the Order of the Commission dated 09.06.2016 (in File No. CIC/VS/A/2015/001053/SB), a detailed reply was sent to the appellant vide letter dated 05.07.2016 pertaining to his RTI application dated 09.01.2015. However, inadvertently, the said reply made a reference to the RTI application dated 08.01.2016 instead of 09.01.2015. However, the lapse was due to oversight and was neither intentional nor deliberate and later on a suitable reply to the RTI application dated 09.01.2015 had been provided to the appellant. The respondent tendered his unconditional apology for the lapse. Furthermore, vide letter dated 12.08.2016, the appellant had acknowledged having received the information. The respondent also apprised the Commission that as per the status available on the official website of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, PIL/ W. P. (C) No. 73/ 2015 is pending before the Hon’ble Court. Besides the matter of PIL/ W. P. (C) No. 73/ 2015 is being dealt in the Ministry of Women and Child Development and no action is required from the MHA at this point of time.

Decision:

5. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of the respondent and perusing the records, observes that no information, in response to the RTI application, was furnished to the appellant by the respondent. The Commission, however, takes note of the respondents’ submission in this regard that information could not be furnished to the appellant since neither the representation dated 12.12.2015 nor any notice in the matter of PIL/ W. P. (C) No. 73/2015 was received in their section. The Commission also takes note of the fact that vide letter dated 05.07.2016, a reply was given to the appellant, in compliance with the decision of the Commission dated 09.06.2016. However, the said reply, inadvertently, mentioned the wrong date of the RTI application. The Commission takes a very serious view of this lapse. The Commission, therefore, would like to counsel the CPIO, MHA to be more careful in the future so that such lapses do not recur and the provisions of the RTI Act are implemented in both letter and spirit.

6. The Commission further observes that due information has been furnished to the appellant by the respondent. Hence, no further intervention of the Commission is warranted in the matter.

7. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.

8. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.

(Sudhir Bhargava) Information Commissioner Authenticated true copy (S.S. Rohilla) Designated Officer

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