Information regarding recruitment of faculty of NIT Kurukshetra - CIC: Despite a token penalty imposed on the same PIO earlier, the present RTI application has not been replied - CIC: Strict warning issued to PIO; FAA warned for not disposing first appeal
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Copy of advertisement for the recruitment of faculty in the year 2007 and 2008 of NIT Kurukshetra.
2. Copy/list of shortlisted candidates for the post of lecturer (re-designated Assistant Professor) in different discipline as per 2007 and 2008 recruitment of NIT Kurukshetra. Also, provide the copy/list of shortlisted candidates for the 2 post of Associate Professor and Professor in different discipline as per 2007 and 2008 recruitment of NIT Kurukshetra.
3. Copy/list of all selected candidates in different discipline along with selection committee report as per 2007 and 2008 faculty recruitment of NIT Kurukshetra.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he received a reply dated 06.09.2019 which was delayed by one year. Moreover, he submitted that the denial of information sought u/s 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act in respect of points (d) and (f) of the RTI Act is not proper. He further pressed for penalty against the CPIO and apprised the Commission that the concerned CPIO is in the habit of denying information and delaying replies. To substantiate his plea he relied on the decision of a coordinate bench of the Commission dated 22.06.2018 in case no. CIC/NITKS/A/2017/130217-BJ in which a token penalty of Rs 2000/- was imposed on Shri G.R Samantray for not providing any reply on time. He further pleaded that 17 candidates experience were not counted on unjustifiable grounds. Hence, in larger public interest the information sought should be disclosed.
Shri G.R Samantray, the CPIO submitted that initially the online RTI portal of their office had some problem. Hence they could not access the RTI application. He further submitted that the same was submitted offline by the appellant and after that also due to pending recruitment process he was preoccupied and could not reply on time.
The Commission observes from a perusal of the facts on record that despite a token penalty imposed on the same CPIO on 22.06.2018, the CPIO was not concerned to reply to the present RTI application. This Commission takes a serious note of the one year delay in providing a reply, the lackadaisical approach of the CPIO and the inaction of the First Appellate Authority in providing a reply shows the poor functioning of the respondent organisation.
The Commission observes that the CPIO is incorrigible as despite penalty being imposed earlier, he has still adopted a casual approach in dealing with this RTI application. A strict warning is issued to improve the manner of handling RTI applications and follow the RTI Act in its letter and spirit. Furthermore, the FAA is issued a strict warning for not disposing off the first appeal.
In so far as the reply dated 06.09.2019 is concerned, the Commission finds no scope for any intervention in the matter as the appellant could not make out a case of larger public interest. The Commission accordingly upholds the reply of the CPIO. However, it is pertinent to recommend here that Dr. Satish Kumar, Chairperson, (Acting) Board of Governor, National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra takes steps to ensure that the CPIO and the FAA of National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra are dedicated towards promoting transparency and providing timely replies. Having said this, the Commission is however not inclined to impose penalty as the lapse appeared to be more of poor management in the respondent organisation and no malafide was evident on the part of the CPIO. Hence, the CPIO is given a last opportunity to be careful in future relating to the timelines in respect of all the RTI applications received by him in his office either offline or online.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Sudakar Singh Chauhan v. CPIO, National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra in Decision no.: CIC/NITKS/A/2018/151482/01601, Date of Decision : 12/09/2019