Information pertaining to Optical Fibre Cable & Maintenance Project - CIC: PIO had not taken any steps before the hearing to track the RTI application status nor had come prepared for the hearing with a proper explanation; Warning issued for negligence
The Appellant has sought the following information pertaining to Optical Fibre Cable & Maintenance (O&M) Project in Haryana:
1. Provide following details of the officials who are looking after the said project:
i. Name of officer, ii. Designation, iii. Qualifications, iv. Mobile Number, v. Period of working on the said project and vi. Past experience
2. What criteria was adopted for awarding O&M (Optical Fiber Cable & Maintenance) project to VLE?
3. What was the process adopted for the selection of VLE out of the following -
i. Qualification. ii. Which qualification was required, whether technical or non-technical. iii. What is the minimum period of experience required by VLE for award of the said project? iv. How many gram panchayats have been given to all the selected VLEs?
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide any information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he had not received any reply till date. He also alleged that the concerned officers had not paid any heed to the applicant’s request for reply. He submitted that he had to face acute mental harassment due to such attitude of the CPIO and therefore, pressed for penalty.
The CPIO’s representative failed to submit any explanation for not providing any reply. He only stated that the RTI application was not received on time as during COVID period all officials were working from home and he appeared to have no idea where the RTI application was received in their office or when. He was unable to explain why the matter was not taken up for reply after the hearing notice was issued by the Commission.
The second appeal was filed to the State Information Commission, Chandigarh on time and therefore, the delay was condoned by the CIC. The Commission could not attribute the act of no reply as malafide intent but it appears to be a clear case of negligence. Therefore, the CPIO and his representative who was present today are given one last opportunity to provide a point wise reply to the appellant.
The Commission observed that the CPIO and his representative had not taken any steps before the hearing to track the RTI application status nor had come prepared for the hearing with a proper explanation. A strict warning is issued to the CPIO, Himanshu Dawra and Rohit Mishra for such grave negligence. The CPIO is given a last opportunity to send a point-wise reply to the appellant under intimation to the Commission within 7 days from the date of receipt of the order. Any delay or non-compliance of this order shall render both the officials open to the penal provisions as per the RTI Act.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Satya Prakash Gautam v. CSC e-Governance Services India Limited (CSC) Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in File no. CIC/MOEIT/A/2021/122886, Date of Decision: 01/09/2022