Information about opium Crop which were declared as inferior - CIC: Information pertains to 17 different divisions having separate PIOs which requires compilation from extensive records of each division; The CPIO could not be asked to compile such data
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), Central Bureau of Narcotics, Gwalior seeking following information:-
“1) How many containers (Crop year 2016-17) were declared as inferior, which were tested in the month of August and September 2017 by Govt. opium and Alkaloid factory Ghazipur and Neemuch. Please inform me with analytical particular of each inferior container in very first test i.e. August and September 2017.
2) Please inform me that how many 50 Gram samples of opium were tested as a second test as per rule in GOAF Neemuch of the inferior containers mentioned in para no. 1. Please inform me with analytical particular of each 50 Gram sample of opium which was tested in GOAF Neemuch on 24th, 25th & 26th October, 2017
3. The appellant, Mr. Onkar Lal Jat attended the hearing through audio conferencing. Mr. Prashant Kamble, Superintendent participated in the hearing representing the respondent through audio conferencing. The written submissions are taken on record.
4. The appellant stated that the complete information of all the divisions has not provided to him and therefore, the respondent should be directed to provide him the remaining information.
5. The respondent submitted that the information sought by the appellant pertains to 17 different divisions having individual CPIOs and also, the information in the manner sought by the appellant is not available in a compiled form at a single point. Nonetheless, they have furnished him some information after an arduous task of compilation. He also apprised the Commission that a fire broke out in their Establishment Section on the intervening night of 13/14-05-2020 whereby all the official records/files pertaining to their RTI sections were totally damaged/burnt. They have also lodged the FIR of this effect.
6. This Commission observes that the information sought by the appellant pertains to 17 different divisions having separate CPIOs and therefore, it is very wide and general in nature which requires compilation from extensive records of each division. This information is also not maintained at a single point. In this regard, this Commission observes that if the required information was not maintained in the manner as asked for, the CPIO could not be asked to compile such data. It is further observed that the CPIO is expected to provide the information which is available with him. He is not required to collect and compile the information on the demand of a requester nor is he expected to create a fresh one merely because someone has asked for it. This is supported by the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in its judgment dated 04-12-2014 in W.P.(C) 6634/2011 & CM No.13398/2011 titled as The Registrar, Supreme Court Of India v. Commodore Lokesh K.Batra and Ors., wherein, it was observed as follows:-
“11. Insofar as the question of disclosing information that is not available with the public authority is concerned, the law is now well settled that the Act does not enjoin a public authority to create, collect or collate information that is not available with it. There is no obligation on a public authority to process any information in order to create further information as is sought by an applicant.
The Supreme Court in Aditya Bandhopadhyay (supra) held as under:
“35. At this juncture, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about the RTI Act. The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. This is clear from a combined reading of section 3 and the definitions of “information” and “right to information” under clauses (f) and (j) of Section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analysed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in Section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such non-available information and then furnish it to an applicant.”
7. Further, this Commission observes that the CPIO cannot be expected to compile the information which requires disproportionate diversion of the resources of the public authority. On this aspect, it is apt to mention the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 dated 09/08/2011 titled as Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr. v. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors., wherein, it was observed as under:-
“Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritizing `information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
8. Nonetheless, the respondent has provided some information to the appellant after compiling the same and hence, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.
9. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
10. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Neeraj Kumar Gupta
Citation: Onkar Lal Jat v. Central Bureau of Narcotics in Second Appeal No. CIC/MOFIN/A/2018/134718/DOREV, Date: 03-07-2020