CIC recorded severe admonition for the PIO for his failure to appear before the bench in person - CIC warned against wasting the time and resources in future by opting for last minute changes in the preferred mode of hearing; Explanation of PIO called for
CIC recorded severe admonition for the CPIO for failure to appear before the bench in person - CIC: The request of the PIO to appear through audio conference at the last minute has caused unavoidable inconvenience to the Appellant and also disrupted the proceedings of the CIC - CIC warned against wasting the time and resources of the CIC in future by opting for last minute changes in the preferred mode of hearing - CIC: PIO of NCSC, Pune to explain why no reply given to RTI Application
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 16.12.2019 seeking the following information:
Having not received any response from the CPIO, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 20.02.2020. FAA’s order, if any, is not available on record. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the non-receipt of information, appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio/video conference.
Respondent: A.P. Gautam, Research Officer & CPIO present through audio conference.
At the outset, the Commission recorded severe admonition for the CPIO in having failed to appear before the bench in person as per the terms stipulated in the notice of hearing and despite having been confirmed by the registry attached with this bench to appear in person. The request of the CPIO to appear through audio conference at the last minute has caused unavoidable inconvenience to the Appellant and also disrupted the proceedings of the Commission.
The CPIO tendered his regret and stated that he was under the impression that since in the past he has been afforded with audio conference facility, he can avail of the same in the instant case also and assured against recurrence of such conduct in the future.
The Appellant stated that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO as the complete information has not been provided.
The CPIO submitted that the Appellant was duly informed that the averred RTI Application was transferred under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act to NCSC, Pune on 15.01.2020 as the subject matter of the information sought for pertained NCSC, Pune as admitted by the Appellant himself in the RTI Application.
The Commission based on a perusal of the facts on record observes that in furtherance of the transfer of the RTI Application, no substantial information has been provided to the Appellant till date by NCSC HQ or NCSC, Pune. Moreover, it was incumbent upon the CPIO to have forwarded the notice of hearing to the CPIO, NCSC, Pune directing their presence before the bench if their plea was restricted to having transferred the RTI Application online to NCSC, Pune.
Now, considering the efflux of time, to facilitate the Appellant, the Commission directs the Respondent CPIO to procure the available and relevant information as sought for in the RTI Application from NCSC, Pune and provide it directly to the Appellant in a point-wise manner. The said information shall be provided free of cost to the Appellant by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under due intimation to the Commission.
Further, the CPIO shall serve a copy of this order to the concerned CPIO of NCSC, Pune under due intimation to the Commission for seeking his/her written explanation for prima-facie not having provided any reply to the instant RTI Application upon its transfer on 15.01.2020 from the Respondent office. The written explanation of the concerned CPIO, NCSC, Pune should reach the Commission within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.
A.P. Gautam, Research Officer & CPIO is lastly warned against wasting the time and resources of the Commission in future by opting for last minute changes in the preferred mode of hearing.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Suresh B Bhosle v. National Commission for Scheduled Castes in File No: CIC/NCFSC/A/2020/673682, Date of Decision: 20/09/2021