CIC: The performance review should be provided to the appellant by IAF even if not generally given, as the appellant is already privy to the same; Copy of his own disagreement note should also be given - CIC: Study other points and provide a proper reply
The appellant has sought the following information pertaining to himself:
1. Provide copies of all performance reviews carried out from December 2012 onwards till Mar 2014, including all performance reviews from IO, RO, SRO and NSRO or any other officer, which are taken into account for processing of the appraisal reports.
2. Is there any performance counselling in respect of the performance reports mentioned above, wherein appellant has disagreed with the performance review? If yes, provide copies of disagreements submitted.
3. In respect of disagreements stated above, provide details of the procedure that has been followed and attempts made in order to validate/clarify the disagreements.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information u/s 8(1) (e) and (j) of the RTI Act.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant stated that the desired information was not provided to him despite the fact that the information sought relates to him and not to any third party. Moreover, there was a delay of over 99 days in giving him a reply. Further, the FAA failed to pass any order. Most importantly he stated that he is not asking for the Appraisal Report but copies of the performance review.
He vide his written submissions received via diary no. 628218 submitted in respect of points no. (a) and (b) that the information was sought by him in his personal capacity. The same was clearly brought out in the initial RTI, first appeal and another additional appeal after FAA decided not to share the information. Further, he submitted that the information is not held in fiduciary capacity. He further submitted that he is asking for the information as his applications are pending at the concerned Directorate.
Furthermore, he contended that the respondents are likely to deny this information under the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Dev Dutt vs Union of India, but the same is not applicable as the applicant is not asking for the Appraisal report but the copies of the Performance Review (that the applicant is privy to but does not have any copy of the same).
In respect of point (c) he had asked for the procedure regarding handling of disagreements and explained that all the paperwork in terms of letters, ordering of enquiry, note on files or memos between any departments of the IAF that have been undertaken to accept or reject the disagreements should be provided.
In respect of point (d) he pointed out that at the time of filing the RTI application, the IAF was following the procedure of online processing of ARs. All the information that has been asked by the applicant was available online for all appraisals including the applicant’s. However, the information asked by the applicant belongs to a period when the AR procedure was not completely online. Hence the same needs to be provided. He also submitted that the information asked in point (d) is also available on the Air Force net as per current policy since 2012 in the same format as asked by the applicant. The same is not held with the applicant as AF Net is not accessible.
The format in which the data was asked is identical to the one followed by IAF currently in the ONLINE Module of AR. He also attached the copy of data available on AFNET. He mentioned that the same was available when the applicant was serving in the IAF but now accessible now.
He summed up requesting for information and also pointed out that despite training the CPIOs they choose to deny information without a justifiable ground. He is aggrieved as there is no provision of filing online RTI application and first appeal in respect of Indian Air Force.
In respect of points no. (f) and (g) he submitted that these are not available, but is required by the applicant to confirm if an AR that was supposed to be IK has not been wrongly assessed by the IAF. The applicant does not ask for the actual assessment if the AR was assessed, but only the fact that the mentioned AR is IK or not.
In respect of point no. (h) he submitted that AFNET is not accessible to the applicant and the information provided is not specific. All relevant QRs and information in AFO 06/12 needs to be obtained specifically.
The CPIO reiterated the contents of the reply dated 07.05.2019. On a query the CPIO submitted that the performance review desired by the appellant was not given to him, as this is a development tool to improve the efficacy of officers. He pointed out that the same are being signed by the concerned officers after viewing. He submitted that there is no provision of providing the copies to the officer.
From a perusal of the records, it is seen that paras 6(a) to (g) were denied under Sec. 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and (j) of the RTI Act in a blanket manner without proper scrutiny of each and every point. Information for point 6(h) was provided. It is noted that the appellant has stated that he was privy to the performance review but does not have copies.
It was also noted that the FAA had given a reply dated 17.05.2019 in which he accepted the explanation given by the CPIO for the delay in replying and also warned the CPIO regarding the delay.
In view of the submissions of the appellant and respondent, it is seen that the performance review from Dec. 2012 -March 2014 should be provided to the appellant under the RTI even if not generally given, as he is already privy to the same. The copy of his own disagreement note should also be given. Similarly, all other points from 6(b) onwards should be studied again vis-a –vis the discussions during the hearing and the appellant’s recent submissions and a proper point wise reply be given.
The directions as given above should be followed by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Kunal Kumra v. Directorate of Personal Services, Air Head Quarters in File no.: - CIC/IAIRF/A/2019/134503, Date of Decision: 08/07/2021