Complaint against an advocate under Advocates Act - The CIC took a serious view of the absence of the PIO despite notice; The PIO, Bar Council of Delhi directed to submit a written statement explaining his absence, along with the comments of the FAA
O R D E R
1. The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Bar Council of India seeking information on eight points regarding the appellant’s complaint dated 14.10.2016 filed against Mr. Rahul Thukral before the Bar Council of India, under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961including, interalia,
(i) The name and designation of the official of the Bar Council of India who received the ‘Registered Parcel’ No. CK030043702IN on 19.10.2016;
(ii) the duly attested copy of the extract of the “Register” pertaining to the receipt of the ‘Registered Parcel’ No. CK030043702IN on 19.10.2016 by the O/o, the Bar Council of India ;
(iii) Complete detailed information of the file movement of the appellant’s complaint dated 14.10.2016 since the receipt of the same by the O/o the Bar Council of India ;
(iv) Information on the ‘present status’ of the appellant’s complaint dated 14.10.2016 ;
(v) Information on the ‘Action Taken’ on the appellant’s complaint dated 14.10.2016;
(vi) Information on the ‘Registration number & date of Registration’ of appellant’s complaint dated 14.10.2016;
(vii) the name, designation and official address of the present Central Public Information Officer of the Bar Council of Delhi ;
(vii) Name, designation and official address of the present FAA of the Bar Council of Delhi and
(viii)Name, official address and official telephone no. of the present President of the Bar Council of Delhi.
2. The appellant filed a second appeal before the Commission on the grounds that the CPIO wrongfully denied to furnish response to the legitimate information sought by the appellant, by misconstruing provision of Section 8 of the RTI Act. The appellant therefore prayed that complete, correct and pointwise information be furnished to him and requested the Commission to direct the respondent public authority to fulfill its statutory obligation and voluntarily post the name, official address, official telephone numbers of the CPIO/FAA, the names and designation of its office bearers in the public domain as required under Section 4(1)(b)of the Act and further prayed, to intiate appropriate penal and disciplinary action against the CPIO.
3. Both the appellant and the respondent were not present despite notice.
4. The appellant submitted an application dated 16.08.2019 before this Commission requesting exemption from personal appearance and to take on record the written submission with respect to his appeal dated 06.06.2017.
5. The appellant in his written submission stated that this Commission recently took serious exception to the non-compliance of proviso stipulated under Section 4(1) (b) of the RTI Act by the respondent public authority and by virtue of an adjunct order dated 09.10.2018 imposed a penalty of Rs. 5000/- upon the CPIO in Second Appeal no.- CIC/MOLAJ/A/2017/140993; pursuant to which information sought by him under point 3 (iii)(g) and (h) of his RTI application is now available on the website of Bar Council of India and is not pressed forthwith.
6. The appellant further submitted that the denial of information sought for under point 3(iii)(a), (b), (c) and (i) of his RTI application by seeking exemption under Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act is unwarranted as the requisite information is not third party/personal information and is not exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act but comes within the public domain and pertains to routine functions of the public authority in an official capacity .
7. The Commission, after perusing the records, observes that complete and correct information has not been provided to the appellant. In view of this, the Commission directs the respondent to provide information on point nos. 3(iii) (a), (b), (c) of the RTI application to the appellant within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order under intimation to the Commission.
8. The Commission takes a serious view of the absence of the CPIO despite notice. The Commission directs the CPIO, Bar Council of Delhi to submit a written statement before the Commission, explaining his absence, along with the comments of the First Appellate Authority, before 27.09.2019 both by post and by uploading to http://dsscic.nic.in/online-link-paper-compliance/add.
9. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
10. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Vijay Prakash Gupta v. CPIO, Bar Council of Delhi in Second Appeal No. CIC/BCOI/A/2017/174213/BCOIN, Date of order 27.08.2019