CIC: Even though the CPIO had explained the factual situation, no exemption was claimed which makes the reply incomplete; Simply stating that a matter is subjudice does not mean that the information cannot be disclosed; Consider the RTI application afresh
The Appellant has sought the following information:
1. Provide copies of the documents on the basis of which CEO, Cantonment Board, affirmed that contracts had commenced with effect from 29/02/2020 and 31/01/2020 along with the details of payment made to him from the said date.
2. Provide copies of the documents on the basis of which Sh. Daman Singh, Ex-CEO, CB, had stated that the contracts had commenced with effect from 01/04/2020.
3. Provide copies of EPF statements, on the basis of which Smt. Promila Jaiswal, CEO had relied on to substantiate that appellant was making payment to contractual staff in an arbitrary manner.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that the desired information was not given to him. The CPIO submitted that an appropriate reply was given to the appellant on 30.06.2021.
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that the CPIO in his reply has informed the appellant that he had challenged the Cantt Board Resolution of blacklisting his firm and had challenged the penalties imposed by the Cantonment Board on his firm by way of a writ petitions in the Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh. It was also stated that all the documents sought by the appellant were annexed by the appellant with the writ petition, since the writ petitions are still pending, as such, the whole matter is sub-judice. Even though the CPIO had explained the factual situation, however, no exemption was claimed by the CPIO which makes the reply of the CPIO incomplete and further it is not clear as why the information cannot be provided even though some matter is sub-judice. It is brought to the notice of the CPIO that simply stating that a matter is sub-judice does not mean that the information cannot be disclosed. Unless there is an express order from the Court prohibiting the disclosure of the information, the information is to be provided.
In view of the above, the CPIO is directed to consider the RTI application afresh and provide a point-wise reply to the appellant and all such information should be disclosed to the appellant which is not otherwise exempted under the provisions of the RTI Act. This direction is to be complied with within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under intimation to the Commission.
The appeals are disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Ravi Kumar Soi v. Office of the Cantonment Board (CB) in File no.: - CIC/IARMY/A/2021/135235, Date of Decision: 20/07/2022