Action taken on appellant’s letter to the Law Minister - PIO: The RTI application/first appeal was not received; Dak was misplaced as some wings of MHA and D/o Justice had a common diary dispatch system - CIC: Streamline the RTI mechanism; Free enclosures
Information sought and background of the case
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 09.07.2019 seeking action taken on his letter dated 24.06.2019 to the Hon’ble Law Minister. Having not received any information from the CPIO, the Appellant filed a First Appeal dated 27.08.2019 and the same remained unheard. Feeling aggrieved over non receipt of the information, the Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
The Appellant remained absent during the hearing despite prior intimation. A written submission has been received from the Appellant dated 02.07.2021 wherein he cited his inability to attend the instant hearing and requested the Commission to take a decision in his absence.
The Respondent represented by Shri Prem Chand, CPIO and US participated in the hearing through audio conference. He referred to his written submission dated 07.07.2021 wherein it was stated that the complaint/grievance of the Appellant dated 24.06.2019 was forwarded to the PPS to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court vide letter dated 15.10.2019. The RTI application/first appeal under consideration was not received by them. Elaborating the reasons for non receipt of the RTI application, Shri Prem Chand stated that till 2019 some wings of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and D/o Justice which are housed in the same building and had a common diary dispatch system which was monitored by the MHA due to which some dak used to get misplaced. However, since 2020 they have created their own separate diary dispatch section which has resulted in due receipt of dak addressed to them.
Having heard the Respondent and on perusal of the records, the Commission observes that although action on Appellant’s grievance has been taken by the D/o Justice, no reply to the RTI application is on record as the Respondent has stated that the RTI application was not received by them. The Commission therefore directs Shri Prem Chand, CPIO and US to furnish a reply to Appellant’s RTI application with necessary enclosures, free of cost by 15.08.2021 under intimation to the Commission. The Commission also directs the CPIO to streamline the RTI mechanism within the public authority to ensure that information is provided to citizens in a time bound manner.
With the above direction, the instant Second Appeal stands disposed off accordingly.
Y. K. Sinha
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Shakti Shankar Bagchi v. PIO, Department of Justice in Second Appeal No. CIC/JUSTC/A/2019/150460, Date of Decision: 08.07.2021