CIC: Appellant has placed the facts of the case in a cumbersome manner - CIC: Appellant is in a habit of narrating grievances and seeks for information as a passing reference which PIO cannot be expected to deduce and interpret to his satisfaction
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 17.08.2020 seeking the following information:
“Based on the recommendation of the 3rd CPC it was decided that (i) all those born on the 2nd of a month onwards would retire in the afternoon of the last day of the month irrespective of the fact whether they attain the age of superannuation much before that date, and (ii) the date of annual increment would be 1st of a month irrespective of the fact whether one completes one year later in the month or on the last day of the month. Subsequently, while implementing recommendations (lithe 6th CPC, based on the principle of annual increment it was decided that enhanced pension at the age of 80 years etc. would also be granted from the 1st of a month, irrespective of the fact whether one attains that age later in the month or on the 30/31st of the month. It was also clarified by the Department that those born on the 1st would attained the age of 80 years on the 1st of the month, as such their enhanced pension would stall from that month itself, i.e., month of birth. On the other side, according to the DOPT those born on the 1st would attain the age of superannuation on the preceding date.
2. When this contradiction of views of the two Departments was brought to the notice of the DOPT that Department observed as follows:
"Vide their order dated 3.10.2008 Deptt of P&PW had clarified that the enhanced pension would be admissible from the 1st of the month in which the pensioners completes the qualifying age. It has been further clarified that as an example that those whose date of birth is 1st August will also be entitled to enhanced pension from the 1st August. This does not appear to be in sync with the principle that a person completes a certain age on the ay prior to his date of birth. In our view in this case the benefit should have been allowed from the 1st July in the cases of those born on the 1st August."
3. Because of the interpretation of FR 56 various Ministries/Departments are retiring all those born on the 1st in the afternoon of the preceding date. As a result, all those born on the 1st January, 1946/ 1956 were deprived of the benefits of the 6th and 7th CPC respectively as they were retired on the 31st December, 2005/ 2015. As a result, a lot of aggrieved, Bharat Pensioners Samaj etc. have been agitating against the stand of DOPT. Their representations including mine were being tossed about here in there. In fact, one of my representations had been transferred to DOE and DOPT by the DPPW, whereas DOE passed on the same to DPPW and DOPT and DOPT to DPPW and DOE. As such a complaint filed with the CIC with reference to DOPT. During hearing it was mentioned by the CPIO concerned of DOPT that the same had been sent for the comments of DPPW with reference to the inconsistency in views referred to above.
4. A representation dated the 15th September, 2016 was submitted to the then Secretary, Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare. It is hoped by now action would have been taken on the representation and comments of the DPPW would have been conveyed to the DOPT. Kindly favour me with the view taken on my representation of September, 2016 and the comments offered to the DOPT by DPPW.
5. Separately on a different subject, Bharat Pensioners Samaj had written to the DPPW vide letter No. BPS/SG/029 dated the 29th October, 2019 and on the same subject I had also represented. In response to my representation following has been stated as on the 8th April, 2020 in the grievance status:
"This Deptt. (DOPPW) was not a party to the case filed by All Manipur Pensioners Association vs. the State of Manipur and others. However, the issues raised in the grievance pertaining to lull parity of the Central Govt. is pending in the Hon’ble Court and subjudice at present. A decision in the matter will be taken on the basis of the decision of the Hon’ble court in this regard."
6. Through my post I had requested as following thereon:
"The number of the Court case and the court where the case is pending has not been mentioned. At least that may be provided now."
7. Nothing has been heard in response to my post. It is requested that the Number and court in which the case is pending may be indicated along with the action taken on the representation of the Bharat Sevak Samaj.
8. In this connection I would like to mention that in an RTI application, I had requested for the inspection of the file of Establishment Officer's Division of the Department of Personnel and Training, in response to that application the EO's Division has sent me a reply stating that "in view of the ongoing widespread COVID-19 pandemic situation, visitors are not being encouraged to visit Government office. However, with regard to your request for inspection of EO Division's file No. 28/01/2019-EO(SM-II), it is informed that the noting and correspondence portion of the file No. 28/01/2019-EO(SM-II) pertaining to your query, runs in 20 pages. Copies of these pages are enclosed for your information."
9. I would request that like EO's Division, DPPW may kindly favour me with a copy of the relevant notes and correspondence. “
The CPIO replied to the appellant on 16.09.2020 stating as follows:-
“As per the provisions of RTI Act, 2005, the public authority can only provide information which already exists with the public authority or is held under his control. The Public Information Officer (PIO)/Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) is not supposed to create information or to interpret information or to solve the problems raised by the Applicant or to give reply to hypothetical questions. The CPIO is also not required to interpret or clarify or compile any rule/ regulation or order/ instructions issued by this Department for providing information under the RTI Act. The Act does not require the PIO/CPIO to deduce some conclusion from the material held or provided and supply the conclusion so deduced to the Applicant. The CPIO is also not required to give his opinion or advice in any matter.
In response to your RTI application, the relevant notes relating to the Bharat Pensioners Samaj letter dated 29.10.2019 is annexed for your information.”
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 26.10.2020. FAA’s order, if any, is not available on record. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio conference.
Respondent: R C Sethi, US & CPIO present through intra-video conference
The Commission remarked upon a perusal of the facts on record that the Appellant has placed the facts of the case on record in an extremely cumbersome manner and having perused the records of 4 other similar cases being heard simultaneously with this case, it is evident that through his RTI Applications, the Appellant is in a habit of narrating grievances and seeks for information as a passing reference which the CPIO cannot be expected to deduce and interpret to his satisfaction
The CPIO reiterated the reply provided to the instant RTI Application while the Appellant also tried to explain his grievances related to contradictory applicability of pension rules.
In furtherance of the observations recorded during the hearing, the Commission finds that the CPIO in his wisdom has interpreted certain queries in the RTI Application and provided some information which is in conformity with the spirit of the RTI Act.
Nonetheless, taking a liberal view in the Appellant’s case, the Commission directs the CPIO to revisit the queries, particularly the portions of the RTI Application which appear in bold herein above and provide any additional information that may be available to the Appellant, free of cost. The said direction shall be complied with by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under due intimation to the Commission.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Gopal Krishan v. Department of Pensions & Pensioner’s Welfare in File No: CIC/DP&PW/A/2021/106830, Date of Decision: 30/03/2022