CIC: Appellant sought for humungous information based on conjecture and interrogative queries, all of which has been duly replied to in a point-wise manner by the PIO; Appellant has not made any substantial ground of appeal against it; Appeal rejected
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 30.08.2022 seeking information through 13 points regarding note sheet of DPC committee, all promotion related information in the context of promotions tendered to around 400 employees during the period between 2007- 2012.
The CPIO furnished a reply to the appellant on 22.09.2022 stating as under:
1. No note sheet are prepared for DPC minutes. DPC minutes cannot be provided (please refer to Delhi High Court judgment dated 21.11.2014 in matter of THDC India Ltd. Vs T. Chanda Biswas).
2. MACP issues are not dealt at Cadre Unit, Lucknow, therefore the information called for cannot be provided.
1. Same as in point 2 above.
2. Same as in point 2 above.
3. In compliance to CBIC letter dated 14.07.2021, CCA Lucknow issued letter dated 29.07.2021. The other part of information called is not available in the section
4. Document not specified hence cannot be provided.
5. Does not pertain to the section.
6. Same as in 3 above.
7. Documents not specified hence cannot be provided.
8. No information called.
9. Documents not specified hence cannot be provided.
10. Information regarding competent officer is given in recruitment rules which are available in public domain.
11. Documents not specified and in form of query hence cannot be provided.
12. Documents not specified hence cannot be provided.
13.Does not pertain to this section.
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 28.09.2022. FAA’s order dated 01.11.2022, upheld the reply of CPIO.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, the appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Not present.
Respondent: Om Krishna Pathak, Asstt. Commissioner & CPIO present through video conference.
The CPIO reiterated the reply provided to the Appellant and invited the attention of the bench to his detailed point-wise submissions filed on 18.08.2023.
The Commission based on a perusal of the facts on record observes that the Appellant sought for humungous information based on conjecture and interrogative queries, all of which has been duly replied to in a point-wise manner by the CPIO as per the provisions of the RTI Act, against which the Appellant has not made any substantial ground of appeal. Rather, the Commission finds the following observation of the Hon'ble Supreme Court's in the matter of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) & Anr. v. Aditya Bandhopadhyay and others [(2011) 8 SCC 497] relevant here:
"37. The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under clause (b) of section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption. But in regard to other information, (that is information other than those enumerated in section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; and (c) of the Act), equal importance and emphasis are given to other public interests (like confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary relationships, efficient operation of governments, etc.). Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non- productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising 'information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties."
Adverting to the foregoing observations, no action is warranted in the matter.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shashi Kumar Upadhyay v. Office of The Principal Chief Commissioner of CGST & Cx, Lucknow Zone, CIC/CCELK/A/2022/155139; Date of Decision: 21/08/2023