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CIC serve notice to CPIO for failure to furnish information

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION BHAWAN

Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka-110067
Tel: +91-11-26106140/26179548
Email – haro.sen@nic.in

INFORMATION COMMISSIONER : DIVYA PRAKASH SINHA
File No. CIC/CICOM/C/2016/302780/SD
Date of Hearing :13/03/2018
Date of Interim Decision: 23/03/2018
Relevant facts emerging from the Complaint:
Complainant : R K Jain
Respondent : CPIO,
Central Information Commission,Baba Gangnath Marg,Munirka, New Delhi.
RTI application filed on : 20/07/2015
PIO replied on : 07/08/2015; 05/10/2015, 04/11/2015
First appeal filed on : 14/10/2015
First Appellate Authority
order: 22/01/2016
Complaint dated : 05/09/2016

Information sought:

The Complainant sought copies of file opening register; copies of dak inward/outward register of JS (Law) and legal cell; date wise details of action taken on the daks; copy of communications of all forms received from High Courts and Supreme Court for the period from 01.01.2014 and copy of the register maintained in relation to orders, judgments received from various Courts.

Grounds for the Complaint:
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Complainant: Present in person.
Respondent: A.K. Sharma, Consultant (RTI Cell) & CPIO and K.K. Pukhral,
Consultant (RTI Cell) & CPIO, Central Information Commission present in person.

Complainant stated that he is aggrieved by the persistent inaction of CPIO & JS(Law), Y K Singhal in the matter as it is after several attempts and reminders that he was provided an opportunity of inspection, yet not of complete records. Further, his primary ground of Complaint is the fact that despite having been provided digital data of records for inspection, he has not been provided with the copy of data sought in CD form even after payment of requisite fees. He insisted on action against the said CPIO for having caused such inordinate delay in providing the information even in CD form which is just a matter of few clicks on the computer; that even his numerous reminders failed to gauge the attention of the said CPIO. He brought the attention of the bench to his inspection note dated 18.03.2016 and letter dated 21.03.2016 vide which he paid the fees and requested for digital data as well as his reminder letter dated 12.09.2016.

Interim Decision

Commission observes upon perusal of the facts on record that largely information sought in the RTI Application is voluminous in nature, collating the same would result in disproportionate diversion of resources. However, the then CPIO & JS(Law) S P Beck has erred in denying the information altogether on para A, C and D of the RTI Application. While the issue of file opening register has been taken up by the FAA in her order dated 22.01.2016, wherein certain suggestions were also given to the CPIO & JS (Law) designated at the time i.e Y K Singhal regarding segregation of dak and his submissions regarding streamlining of work of legal cell and steps taken for creating a file opening register and entry of dak has been recorded. Given these considerations, it is pertinent to note that at the relevant time information sought was in the process of being segregated or created, and for such reasons the CPIO cannot be expected to provide such information which is not in a readily available form. Yet, it was expedient on the part of then CPIO & JS(Law) S P Beck to have offered an opportunity of inspection of available records corresponding to the information sought on paras A, C and D of RTI Application or he should have categorically informed the Complainant if such information was non-existent in the first place.

As regards the inspection note of 18.03.2016 and fees paid by the Complainant vide letter dated 21.03.2016, it is prima-facie observed that the then CPIO & JS(Law), Y K Singhal has not taken any action on the said request letter of the Complainant. It is apparent that some inspection was indeed provided to the Complainant in the form of digital records as per para (a) and (b) of the letter dated 21.03.2016 however there is neither any record of then CPIO having provided the CD containing relevant data against the payment made by Complainant nor is there any record of returning the fees paid.

In view of the same, Commission directs the then CPIO & JS(Law), Y K Singhal to show cause as to why action should not be initiated against him under Section 20 of the RTI Act for failing to provide the digital data on said paras to the Complainant till date. In doing so, then CPIO should also explain on the averments of the Complainant regarding having inspected records as per para (c) onwards of the letter dated 21.03.2016 yet not having provided the copies of documents till date. The written submissions of the then CPIO & JS(Law), Y K Singhal should reach the Commission within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.

Nodal CPIO, RTI Cell shall ensure service of this order to the concerned CPIO named above. The Complaint is reserved for final order.

(Divya Prakash Sinha)
Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy
(H P Sen)
Dy. Registrar/Designated Officer

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