CIC: The question of non-receipt of RTI application & the subsequent appeal does not arise; Secretary, Ministry of Education to relook at the delivery mechanism and take necessary steps to streamline the system of receiving RTI Applications /First Appeals
The appellant has sought the proceedings and action taken report on the letter dated 12/08/2018 addressed to Sh. Prakash Keshav Javadekar, the then MHRD Minister.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has not provided the sought for information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that till date no reply has been provided to him.
The representative of the CPIO submitted that it was only after the receipt of the CIC’s hearing notice that they came to know about the present RTI application. After receipt of the notice, they thoroughly searched all their records but were not able to trace the RTI application, first appeal and even the representations mentioned by the appellant in his RTI application. Therefore, by virtue of their letter dated 23.10.2020 the same was informed to the appellant and he was also requested to send the copies of all the representations which were referred to by him in his RTI application.
At this point, the appellant raised an objection and submitted that the submissions of the CPIO are not acceptable as it has been 02 years since he has filed his representation and the RTI Application and after such a long delay, merely stating that the RTI application and the representation are not traceable is making a mockery of the grievance redressal mechanism and also of the RTI Act.
Having heard the submissions of both the parties and from a perusal of the relevant case records, it is an admitted fact that it was only after the receipt of the CIC’s hearing notice that a reply was provided to the appellant. The justification of the representative of the CPIO that they were not able to trace the RTI application and the relevant representations in his Section is not acceptable in toto as he himself admitted that it was the fault of the RTI Cell who have failed to attach the relevant documents with the given FTS and it was left blank. Hence, the question of non receipt of the RTI application and the subsequent appeal does not arise. It clearly shows the manner in which the RTI matters are being handled in the respondent organisation.
The Commission, therefore, expresses its extreme displeasure at the conduct of the respondent organisation as a whole for such poor handling of the RTI applications and negligence towards the implementation of the RTI Act. Be that as it may, since no information has been provided to the appellant till date and the CPIO is not able to locate the referred representations, the appellant is therefore directed to send the copies of all the relevant documents as referred to in his RTI application to the representative of the CPIO on his email address firstname.lastname@example.org within 02 days from today. After receipt of the said email, the concerned CPIO/ representative is directed to take immediate action and provide the relevant information to the appellant.
In view of the above, the appellant is directed to send the copies of all the relevant documents mentioned in the RTI to the representative of the CPIO on his email address within 02 days from today. After receipt of the said email, the concerned CPIO is directed to take immediate action and provide the relevant information to the appellant within 07 days from the date of receipt of the email under intimation to the Commission.
The Commission also instructs the Secretary, Ministry of Education to relook at the delivery mechanism in vogue in respect of the implementation of the RTI Act, 2005 and take necessary steps to streamline the system of receiving RTI Applications and First Appeals. The Secretary is directed to send his/her comments in the matter including the steps proposed by him/her for rectifying the aforesaid issue to the Commission within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Naresh Mokate v. Ministry of Education in File no.: CIC/MOHRD/A/2019/108482, Date of Decision : 26/10/2020