CIC: Penalty of Rs. 25,000 imposed on PIO with a show cause notice why a compensation of Rs. 1 Lakh should not be paid to the appellant for harassment - CIC: Develop a system for redressal whereby alternative relief can be provided where document is lost
CIC: Penalty of Rs. 25,000/ imposed on the PIO - D.C. (Central) to disclose their policy as to alternative remedy in such cases of missing documents - Explain why a compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/ should not be paid to the appellant for harassment - Deputy Commissioner is under obligation to order for thorough inquiry and search for these missing documents, submit a comprehensive reply on the missing property documents in their office - Develop a policy to tackle such situation and develop a system for redressal whereby alternative relief can be provided to the person whose documents have been lost - CIC also recommended to the Registrar DC Central to bear the penalty amount to be paid by the Sub Registrar III which according to RTI Act has to be personally paid by the PIO, in view of serious deficiency spread over the entire department, and it was not possible to fix responsibility on the present PIO alone for the loss of documents
2. Commission Vide its even Order dated 31.12.2014 had passed the following direction:
“Both the parties made their submissions. The appellant is seeking the copies of the record which pertains to 1985. The Delhi Archives clarified that they have not received the said record in their archives from the SRIII, whereas the other respondent, i.e. SR III have told the appellant that they had already sent the same to the Delhi Archives. The Commission heard the submissions of the appellant and the respondent officers representing the Delhi Archives and SR III.
After going through the file thoroughly, the Commission directs the SR III, to make a thorough search of the relevant record and supply the information to the appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of.”
3. Complainant has now approached the Commission stating that the above mentioned Order of the Commission has not yet been complied with.
4. Both parties made their submission. The officer representing the Archives Department submitted that the document was not transferred to them at all and showed the proof of the same. In view of the same penalty proceeding for noncompliance of Commission’s order cannot be taken against the PIO Archives and hence the penalty proceedings are dropped against them.
4. The PIO Sub Registrar III submitted before the Commission that the documents sought for was also not available with them. The Commission is of view that the claim of the PIO SR III that they have sent the record to Archives is not correct. The officer has shown details of loose records he could list out. In that there is a list of loose documents registered in 1982, however there is no mention of perpetual lease deed dated 22.12.1982 executed by the President of India in favour of Punjab National Bank.
5. When the Commission sought to know from PIO SRIII the alternative action for substituting the nontraceable documents, he stated that he wrote a letter to the Registrar (Central) on 12.03.2015 i.e. the day before the hearing. The Commission considers it is a serious lapse on the part of office of SRIII, as they have been established to maintain the property record only. It is pathetic to note that the respondent officer misled the appellant by giving wrong information that the documents have been transferred to Archives. Secondly, they do not do anything to provide alternative remedy when record of property transaction is lost. Thirdly, public authorities choose to write just before the date of hearing to the Registrar (Central) with regard to the missing document, and nothing is done.
6. Thus the Commission finds it a fit case to impose penalty of Rs. 25,000/on Shri Raj Kumar, Sub RegistrarIII.
7. Accordingly, Shri Raj Kumar, Sub RegistrarIII is directed to pay a sum of Rs. 25,000/in 5 equal monthly installments.
8. The Appellate Authority is directed to recover the amount of Rs.25,000/from the salary payable to Shri Raj Kumar, Sub RegistrarIII by way of Demand Draft drawn in favour of ‘PAO CAT’ in 5 equal monthly installments. The first installment should reach the Commission by 15.05.2015 and the last installment should reach by 15.09.2015. The Demand Draft should be sent to Shri S. P. Beck, Joint Secretary & Addl. Registrar, Room No. 302, Central Information Commission, BWing, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi 110 066.
8. The Commission also directs the Registrar, D.C. (Central) to disclose their policy as to alternative remedy in such cases. They have to put in place a system, in case the document like the present is lost by the department. The Commission also directs, Registrar, C.C. (Central) to explain as to why compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/ should not be paid to the appellant for this kind of harassment meted out to the appellant. The Commission noticed that it is not the first case of loosing of documents by the public authority. PIO Delhi Archives also submitted that the respondent office was in a mess and number of documents were lost would run into Lakhs.
9. The Commission finds that the present Sub Registrar III cannot be personally held solely responsible for the loss of documents in the respondent authority, but he being PIO and the head of the section from where the documents were lost, has to bear this responsibility, as the Commission notices that several documents are missing from the DC office. The Deputy Commissioner is under obligation to order for thorough inquiry and search for these missing documents. The Commission directs the respondent officer to submit a comprehensive reply on the missing property documents, in their offices. They have to develop a policy to tackle such situation and develop a system for redressal whereby alternative relief can be provided to the person whose documents have been lost. The Commission also recommends the Registrar DC Central to bear the penalty amount to be paid by the Sub Registrar III which according to RTI Act has to be personally paid by the PIO, in view of serious deficiency spread over the entire department, and it was not possible to fix responsibility on the present PIO alone for the loss of documents which occurred decades ago.
10. Commission Orders accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Sh. Samuel Mathew v. Department of Delhi Archives GNCTD in File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000628