The RTI application, even if repetitive, cannot be allowed to be left unattended as a reply to each and every RTI application is compulsory under the Act, even if repeating the earlier replies if so warranted - Exercise right to information responsibly
The appellant has sought information with regard to the NIFT’s permanent employees service rules. Whether the same are maintained on the lines of the Central Government service Rules or the same are maintained as per private rules.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing: The appellant was not present at the VC Venue despite duly served notice on 20.08.2020 vide speed post acknowledgment no. ED596680558IN. In his appeal he had submitted that he is aggrieved as he was not given retirement benefits.
The CPIO submitted that the appellant was retired from service on medical grounds. Consequent upon his retirement, his wife Ms. G. Keerti was given compassionate appointment as a special case to the post of Junior Assistant. He has been making representations, grievances, RTIs etc about non release of his retirement benefits, pension and asking for service rules etc. continuously at Hyderabad campus and the Head Office. The reply to his repetitive RTIs (on the same matter) have been given by PIO Hyderabad and also PIO (Establishment)- Head Office on numerous occasions. He further submitted a copy of the reply dated 08.03.2018 which was in response to a RTI application dated 20.01.2018.
Based on a perusal of the record it was noted that the CPIO had replied vide letter dated 08.03.2018 as follows:
“It is to inform you that the service rules for permanent employees are mentioned in the Establishment Manual which is uploaded in the NIFT website. Please check: www.nift.ac.in –Downloads-Establishment Manual English General Service Rules (Pages 155 to 201).”
It is clear from the above reply that the CPIO had properly guided the applicant to access the available information vide reply dated 08.03.2018. In case he was not satisfied he could have filed a first appeal, instead, he chose to file a subsequent RTI application on 09.03.2018 i.e subject matter of the present case. The Commission treats the present RTI application as repetitive and refrains from issuing any adverse remarks to the CPIO as the appellant has filed more than one RTI, similar in nature and over 30 letters on the same subject as informed by the CPIO during the hearing. Moreover, the appellant also had not availed of the opportunity to plead his case.
The CPIO is directed to take note of the mandate of the RTI Act and to follow the same in strictu sensu. The RTI application, even if repetitive cannot be allowed to be left unattended as was done in this case, due to the fact that a reply to each and every RTI application is compulsory under the Act, even if repeating the earlier replies if so warranted. Therefore, the CPIO is advised to provide categorical replies to the applicant informing that the same information was already given earlier, instead of keeping the RTI application pending. The appellant also is advised to exercise his right to information responsibly.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: B Anand Rao v. National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in File no.: CIC/NIFTY/A/2019/117177, Date of Decision: 08/09/2020