Information regarding cutting of trees due to Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor - CIC severely admonished the Respondent public authority for providing delayed information and issued a warning for future - Explanation of PIO called for absence during hearing
O R D E R
The Complainant filed an online RTI Application dated 28.08.2018 seeking information on the following seven points regarding cutting of trees due to Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor. He specifically sought the following information:
1) Provide copy of permission letter to cut trees, shurbs etc in green area for Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
2) Provide copy of letter / application asking permission to cut trees in green area for Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
3) When permission applied to cut trees Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
4) Which all departments applied to cut trees Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
5) If permission approved, provide the plan & details of Compensatory Afforestation to compensate the greenery and tree done in lieu of trees cutting for Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
6) Provide environment assessment report on green area regarding Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
7) Provide numbers of tree with details which all damage for Dhaula Kuan Airport corridor.
Having not received any information from the CPIO and being dissatisfied, the Complainant approached the Commission vide this instant Complaint.
Grounds for Complaint:
The Complainant filed a Complaint u/s 18 of the RTI Act on the non-receipt of information from the Respondent. He requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide complete information sought for and take appropriate legal action against the Respondent.
Submissions made by Complainant and Respondent during Hearing:
The Complainant stated that on 16.10.2018 i.e., after a delay of 50 days from the date of filing the instant RTI Application, he has received information from the Respondent. He further stated that a First Appeal has been filed on 16.10.2018.
The Commission remarked that the said First Appeal has been filed after filing the instant Complaint and the same cannot be taken into consideration. In response, the Complainant stated the said First Appeal has to be considered by the Commission because the reply of the Respondent is in violation with the provisions of the RTI Act and requested the Commission to impose penalty on the CPIO. The Respondent did not participate in the hearing despite serving the hearing notice.
Upon perusal of the facts on record as well as on the basis of the proceedings during the hearing, the Commission observes that the Complainant has stated that he has received delayed information. In this regard, the Commission severely admonishes the Respondent public authority for providing delayed information to the Complainant. Hence, the Commission warns the Respondent to ensure that in future, the replies to the RTI Applications have to be provided to the Applicants within the stipulated time-frame mandated in the RTI Act.
However, the Commission takes grave exception to the absence of CPIO during hearing without intimating any reasons thereof. Accordingly, CPIO is directed to provide explanation for non-appearance before the Commission within 15 days of receipt of this order.
With the above observations, the complaint is disposed of.
Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
The complaint, hereby, stands disposed of.
Citation: Neeraj Sharma v. National Highways Authority of India in Complaint No. CIC/NHAIN/C/2018/633505, Date of decision: 29.01.2021