Information related to certain plots was sought - CIC: Provide the relevant extract/copy of the Land Register/Inventory in which the details of the 11 Plots vested in BCCL are recorded as well as the details pertaining to the acquisition of one Plot
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), O/o General Manager (Pers.), Bharat Coking Coal Limited., East Jharia Area, Dhanbad seeking information on three points pertaining to 13 Plots (Plot nos. 444, 446, 448, 449, 450, 451, 452, 454, 456, 494, 423 and 794) of Khata no.8, Thana no. 160, Parghabad, Jharia, including, inter-alia,
(i) whether the total area of the above-said plots is 13.79 acres and
(ii) whether the above-said plots were acquired and, if so, in which year and the complete details thereof.
2. The appellant filed a second appeal before the Commission on the grounds that no information has been provided to her, so far. The appellant requested the Commission to direct the CPIO to provide the information sought for and to impose a penalty upon the respondent. She also requested the Commission to award her compensation for the mental agony and loss suffered by her due to non-furnishing of the information sought for.
Hearing on 16.04.2019:
3. The appellant was not present. The respondent Shri Sushil Kumar, Senior Manager (Mining), Bharat Coking Coal Limited., East Jharia Area, Dhanbad attended the hearing through video conferencing.
4. The Commission, after perusing the records, observes that the Notice of Hearing sent to the appellant has been returned undelivered with the remark “Left”. Therefore, in the interest of justice, the matter is adjourned to 20.05.2019 at 01.20 PM. The Commission further directs the Registry of this Bench to issue a fresh notice to both the parties in the matter.
Hearing on 20.05.2019:
5. The appellant Ms. Punam Devi and the respondent Shri Sushil Kumar, Senior Manager (Mining), Bharat Coking Coal Limited., East Jharia Area, Dhanbad attended the hearing through video conferencing.
6. The appellant submitted that though a reply dated 02.08.2017 was furnished to her, complete information has not been provided her. The appellant further stated that she was informed that 11 plots were vested in BCCL and only plot no. 456 was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 vide LA case no.01/97-98. Plot no. 423 is a vacant land belonging to the Land Revenue Department of the State Government concerned. However, the area of the plot acquired has not been provided to her. The appellant requested the Commission to direct the respondent to provide the total area of plot no. 456 as well as the documents pertaining to the 11 plots that were vested with BCCL.
7. The respondent submitted that pointwise information has been provided to the appellant vide letter dated 02.08.2017. He clarified that as per Section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; and 3(1) of the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973, all lands adjoining/adjacent to coal mines which were being run/operated by private coal companies were vested in BCCL. Further, Section 3(1) of Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 clearly states as follows
“3. Acquisition of rights of owners in respect of coal mines.—(1) On the appointed day, the right, title and interest of the owners in relation to the coal mines specified in the Schedule shall stand transferred to, and shall vest absolutely in, the Central Government free from all incumbrances.”.
Hence, the appellant was informed that 11 Plots bearing Khata no.8, Thana no. 160, Parghabad, Jharia were vested in BCCL as per the Coking Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973. The respondent further stated that an inventory of the lands vested in the public authority at the time of Nationalization is maintained in a Register and the details relating to plots vested in the BCCL would be provided to the appellant.
8. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and perusing the records, directs the respondent to provide the relevant extract/copy of the Land Register/Inventory in which the details of the 11 Plots of Khata no.8, Thana no. 160, Parghabad, Jharia vested in BCCL are recorded as well as the details pertaining to the acquisition of Plot no. 456 to the appellant within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order under intimation to the Commission.
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: Punam Devi v. Bharat Coking Coal Limited in Second Appeal No. CIC/NCCLD/A/2017/166967, Date 03.06.2019