Information about Basketball Association, its Rules and Regulations, certain correspondence, names of the districts with their office-bearers etc. - CIC: Reply is misleading; PIO was not present during hearing - CIC: SCN issued to PIO for imposing penalty
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 17.06.2022 seeking the following point-wise information:
“1. It is respectfully submitted in the interest of basketball fraternity and for the promotion of the basketball game, that the Delhi Basketball Association has 39 affiliated members and 1 am the accredited representative of Pragati Club (Regd.) which is one of the oldest affiliated member of DBA and our Pragati Club remained Delhi State Champions many a times. I had also been the Hony. Secretary of DBA from the year 1992 to 1997. Besides, I had the privilege to be the Manager of Indian Men Basketball teams which toured to Syria in 1988 and to Qatar (Doha) in Asian Basketball Championship (Men) in 2005.
2. In the light of the aforesaid short submission, I seek the Information from your office under section 6 of RTI Act, 2005 to consider as under:-
a) To provide me the photocopy of registration certificate of Delhi Basketball Association along with scan/ photocopy of its Rules and Regulations.
b) Please provide me the photocopies of the letters exchanged between BFI & DBA from 1st January, 2021 onwards till date.
c) Please provide me the letter of DBA containing therein list of districts with all details i.e. names of the districts with their office-bearers, addresses their registration numbers, if any, purported to have been given affiliation to them by DBA.
d) Please clarify whether the Sports Code is applicable on States or Union Territories. as Sports is a state subject. It is applicable on Delhi Basketball Association or not.”
The CPIO furnished a reply to the appellant on 21.06.2022 stating as under:
“Point a) to d): It is being forwarded to DBA.
Since, the information sought does not pertain to the Basketball Federation of lndia and is closely related more to the Delhi Basketball Association, the application is transferred under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act, 2005 to DBA for replying directly to you.”
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 16.08.2022. FAA’s order dated 15.09.2022, held as under:-
“This is with reference to Appeal under RTI Act, 2005 against the impugned order of Malini Hemraj, PIO, BFI vide order no. 2022-06-21/01 dated 21.06.2022 received in the post on 23rd August 2022.
That your application dated 17.06.2022 was replied by Malini Hemraj, PIO, BFI vide order no. 2022-06-21/01 dated 21.06.2022.”
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, the appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through intra-video conference.
Respondent: Not present.
The Appellant stated that he is aggrieved with the reply of the CPIO as he had served in the Delhi Basketball Association and is aware that these records would be available with the Basketball Federation. He further argued that records of all the State Basketball Association ought to be available, more particularly, the registration certificate has to be available with the Federation. Upon a query from the Commission, the Appellant clarified that as per his knowledge, DBA is not receiving any grants-in-aid from the Govt. The Appellant furthermore harped on relief to be ordered on paras b, c and d of the RTI Application while alleging certain malpractices being practiced by the DBA to which the Commission advised him to pursue the grievances before the appropriate forum.
The Commission based on a perusal of the facts on record observes that while the CPIO has informed that the information sought for does not pertain to the Federation, but the reply does not clarify if the information sought for is available with the Federation or not thereby rendering the reply to be misleading. Further, the CPIO has also not appeared before the Commission to clarify if the DBA is amenable to the RTI Act for checking the veracity of the transfer of the RTI Application under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act in as much as the alleged transfer u/s 6(3) is being shown to have been addressed to one, Devender Kumar and not addressed to a “CPIO” designated under the RTI Act.
Now, considering the arguments of the Appellant and the failure of the CPIO to appear before the Commission to plead their case, the Commission directs the CPIO to revisit paras (a) and (c) of the RTI Application and provide a categorical reply incorporating the information that is available with the federation or state in cogent terms that the information sought for is not available in their office. The said direction shall be complied with by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under due intimation to the Commission.
No relief is being ordered for paras (b) and (d) of the RTI Application as the Appellant has sought for unspecific information as well as answers to speculative queries that do not conform to Section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act.
The Commission also takes grave exception to the failure of the CPIO to appear before the bench without intimating any reasons thereof. The CPIO is hereby directed to send a detailed written submission along with supporting documents, if any, to show cause as to why no action should be initiated against him/her for having provided a rather misleading reply to the instant RTI Application as observed in the preceding paras and for their absence during the hearing proceedings, both of which is a grave violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. The said written submission of the CPIO shall reach the Commission within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order, failing which, stringent action may be taken in the matter.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Nand Kishore Jamdagny v. Basketball Federation of India, CIC/MOYAS/A/2022/158429; Date of Decision: 27/07/2023