Action taken on a complaint pertaining to an unauthorized construction - CIC: PIO to submit an explanation for delay; PIO to provide an action taken report with regard to the alleged unauthorized construction after ascertaining the position from SHO
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 25.01.2018 seeking information on the following 5 points regarding a complaint pertaining to an unauthorized construction dated 27.12.2017 and 03.01.2018 at 315-A, L-Shape Corner, Near Jain Sathanak, Prem Nagar, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi - 110059:
1. In this regard you are requested to inform about the action taken with regards to stop the unauthorized construction.
2. Please provide the details of time and visit of the officer who visited (if any) the above mentioned address to-check the authenticity of the unauthorized construction going on at above address.
3. Please provide the copy of incident report filed by the officer who visited the above site to stop the unauthorized construction.
4. What action has been initiated on the incident report submitted by the officer who had visited the above mention address where the unauthorized construction is going on?
5. Is any demolition order has been passed, if not the reason there of.
[Queries are verbatim]
PIO/EE (Building-II), vide letter dated 18.05.2018 forwarded the point-wise reply to the Appellant provided by JE(B)WZ. Dissatisfied with the reply received from the PIO, Appellant filed a First Appeal dated 04.06.2018. FAA vide order dated 15.06.2018 directed the PIO to provide a modified reply within 15 days. Feeling aggrieved over the non-compliance of the FAA order, Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
Commission has received a communication from the PIO/Ex. Engineer (Bldg.)-II, West Zone addressed to the Appellant vide letter dated 26.05.2020, wherein it has been stated as under:
“In reference to the Appeal filed by you before the First Appellate Authority i.e. SE-II, West Zone on 04.06.2018 (in reference to your RTI application vide No. 655/II/G dated 15.03.2020) and subsequent to direction dated 15.06.2018 of First Appellate Authority, the point-wise modify reply is as under:-
i. As per record maintained by this office, the Property No. T-315-A, Prem Nagar, New Delhi was booked vide file No. EE(B)-II/WZ/UC/18/12 dated 15.01.2018 and further vide file No. EE(B)-II/WZ/UC/18/179 dated 24.04.2018 for unauthorized construction. Further, letter u/s 344(2) of the DMC Act was also sent to SHO, P.S. Bindapur to stop the construction activity.
ii. Such type of record i.e. inspection of site is not available in the office record. However, property was booked on 15.01.2018 & 24.04.2018 for unauthorized construction.
iii. Such type of record is not available in this office record.
iv. This query does not cover under the purview of RTI Act.
v. Demolition orders have been passed in respect of the said property.”
In order to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of the pandemic, COVID-19, audio hearings were scheduled after giving prior notice to both the parties.
The Appellant participated in the hearing on being contacted on his telephone. He stated that there has been no action taken by the Respondent public authority in response to his complaint. He further stated that he approached SDMC and the concerned police station but his efforts were in vain. He added that as on the date of the instant RTI Application, the illegal construction was in the initial stages i.e., only brick-work was started and presently, the unauthorized construction of the alleged illegal building has been completed.
Upon being asked, he explained that he is the owner of the 1st floor in that building and that the alleged illegal construction has been carried out on top of the 2nd floor, which renders the building unsafe and risky.
Respondent is represented by Shri S.K. Gupta, PIO/Ex. Engineer (B-II) through audio conference. He reiterated the contents of the written submission/ communication dated 26.05.2020. Upon being asked as to why there was a delay in complying with the order of the First Appellate Authority, PIO could not explain the reason for delay.
Upon perusal of facts on record as well as on the basis of the proceedings during the hearing, Commission observes that the PIO though he has complied with the order of the First Appellate Authority but after an inordinate delay of almost 2 years. Further, as per the dictum of the Respondent public authority in their reply dated 26.05.2020, it can be seen that the alleged illegal/unauthorized construction on the property in question has been booked on 15.01.2018 and on 24.01.2018. In addition, a letter under Section 344(2) of the DMC Act has also been sent to SHO, P.S. Bindapur to stop the construction activity but there has been no action taken on it till date.
In view of the aforesaid shortcomings, Commission directs the PIO to submit an explanation as to why the order of the First Appellate Authority was not complied within the stipulated time period. The Commission also directs the PIO to provide an action taken report with regard to the alleged illegal and unauthorized construction after ascertaining the position from SHO P.S. Bindapur. A copy of the report shall be sent to the Commission within 30 days from the date of issue of this order, failing which action shall be initiated against the PIO as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
Y. K. Sinha
Citation: Shri Yogesh Agarwal v. PIO/EE (Bldg.-II), West Zone, SDMC, New Delhi in Second Appeal No. CIC/SDMCW/A/2018/144543, Date of Decision: 12.06.2020