Appellant claimed that the investigation in the matter had been concluded - CIC: Respondent is directed to verify the status of investigation and in case the same had been concluded, the information may be disclosed, after redacting names of third parties
1. The issue under consideration arising out of the second appeal dated 20.11.2020 include non-receipt of the following information sought by the appellant through the RTI application dated 23.09.2020 and first appeal dated 26.10.2020:-
(i) Certified copy of letter received from CBI, ACB, Pune for permission of competent authority of bank to give sanction for prosecution of Rajesh Jain i.e. the appellant, under Section 19 (1) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in case of FIR no. 13/2016 filed by bank against Mrs. Sushil Jainarayan Karwa & others.
(ii) Certified copy of the documents provided with covering letter as mentioned in point no. 1 in order to seek/justify the permission for the prosecution from the bank.
(iii) Certified copy of the draft letter for sanction of competent authority for prosecution of Rajesh Jain.
(iv) Certified copy of the office note put up before the competent authority for giving permission for prosecution.
(v) Certified copy of the movement of process note/noting on this RTI application.
2. Succinctly facts of the case are that the appellant filed an application dated 23.09.2020 under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Bank of Maharashtra, Pune, seeking aforesaid information. The CPIO vide letter dated 22.10.2020 replied to the appellant. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed first appeal dated 26.10.2020. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) vide order dated 12.11.2020 disposed of the first appeal. Aggrieved by that, the appellant filed second appeal dated 20.11.2020 before the Commission which is under consideration.
3. The appellant has filed the instant appeal dated 20.11.2020 inter alia on the grounds that reply given by the CPIO was not satisfactory. The appellant requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide the complete information and take necessary action as per Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act.
4. The CPIO replied vide letter dated 22.10.2020 and the same is reproduced as under:-
(i) ,(ii), (iii) “The information sought cannot be provided as it will impede the process of investigation and is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act, 2005.
(iv) The information sought is confidential in nature and is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act, 2005.
(v) This letter is reply to RTI application.”
The FAA vide order dated 12.11.2020 upheld the reply of the CPIO.
5. The appellant and on behalf of the respondent Mr. Gaurav Tyagi, CPIO, Bank of Maharashtra, Pune attended the hearing through video conference.
5.1. The appellant inter alia submitted that the exemption claimed by the appellant was not applicable since the investigation in the matter had been completed. He further requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide the information to him.
5.2. The respondent while defending their case inter alia submitted that they were not aware of the final status of the investigation and ensured that they would confirm the status and accordingly update the appellant.
6. The Commission after adverting to the facts and circumstances of the case, hearing both the parties and perusal of records, observed that the respondent had claimed exemption under provisions of section 8 (1) (d) and (h) of the RTI Act. However, the appellant claimed that the investigation in the matter had been concluded. In view of the above, the respondent is directed to verify the status of investigation and in case the same had been concluded, the information may be disclosed to the appellant, after redacting names of third parties, if any, within three weeks from the date of receipt of this order. In respect of point no. (iv) of the RTI application, the respondent is directed that the information be made available to the appellant after redacting the names from the file notings. With these observations and directions, the appeal is disposed of.
Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Rajesh Manikchand Jain v. Bank of Maharashtra, Second Appeal No. CIC/BOMAH/A/2020/693139, 01.11.2022