Complaint was filed on the grounds of non-receipt of a reply on the RTI Application within the stipulated time frame of RTI Act - CIC: The PIO has grossly erred in not sending any intimation of the factual position of the case to the Complainant
The Complainant sought information through 15 points regarding processing of Ministry of Shipping letterNo.C – 13020/3/2012 – Vig dated 16.09.2015, marked to the Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
Grounds for the Complaint:
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Complainant: Present through VC
Respondent: N.K. Kulkarni,Manager (Admn) & CPIO, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Administration Building, Navi Mumbai present through VC.
Complainant stated that no reply was provided by the CPIO on the RTI Application within the stipulated time frame of RTI Act.
CPIO submitted that the RTI Application was received on 28.09.2016 and since it pertained to a memorandum issued by Ministry of Shipping, no information was available with their personnel or vigilance department as brought out by the concerned officers vide different communications. Further, upon receipt of First Appeal and deliberation with the First Appellate Authority, it was decided that the matter should be referred to Ministry of Shipping. Accordingly, the RTI Application was referred to Ministry of Shipping vide letter dated 28.11.2016. That, thereafter they are not aware of any communication sent from the end of CPIO, Ministry of Shipping. CPIO furthermore submitted that as such the Memo under reference was issued to D. Naresh Kumar, Secretary, JNPT, and therefore, the information sought could not have been provided as per Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of RTI Act.
Commission observes that an Appeal based on the same RTI Application has been heard and decided by a coordinate bench vide File No. CIC/JNPTR/A/2017/106211 on 18.06.2018.
Now, since the instant Complaint is on the grounds of non-receipt of a reply on the RTI Application within the stipulated time frame of RTI Act, Commission observes from the submissions of the CPIO that he has grossly erred in not sending any intimation of the factual position of the case as explained during hearing to the Complainant. In other words, it was incumbent on the CPIO to have provided a reply to the Complainant in the form of endorsement of correspondences made with their Vigilance department or administration wing. It is appalling to note that even the intimation of transfer of RTI Application to Ministry of Shipping was not sent to the Complainant. It is irrelevant to the proceedings under RTI Act that the CPIO took steps internally to arrange for the information to be provided, since RTI Act mandates time bound responses to be provided to applicants, the factum of internal action taken on RTI Application bears no merit.
Nonetheless, based on the strength of material on record, Commission is of the considered opinion that no malafide intention can be ascribed to the omission of the CPIO in not having replied on the RTI Application. However, Commission expresses serious displeasure over the gross nonapplication of mind of N.K. Kulkarni, Manager (Admn) & CPIO in not having intimated the Complainant regarding the processing of his RTI Application. N.K. Kulkarni, Manager (Admn) & CPIO is hereby warned to exercise due caution in future while dealing with matters under RTI Act. The Complaint is disposed of accordingly.
Divya Prakash Sinha
Citation: Rednam Deepak v. CPIO, Manager (Admn) & CPIO, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in File No : CIC/JNPTR/C/2017/106197/SD, Date of Decision: 12/03/2019