Information specifically relating to the functioning of the HR department of the Enforcement Directorate wherein allegedly obtained wrongful employment was obtained by producing fake Handicapped Certificate - CIC: It pertains to corruption in the ED
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 The Directorate Of Enforcement, New Delhi seeking following information:-
“It has come to notice that some candidates have joined and were posted in Enforcement Directorate, New Delhi as Stenographer in year 2017 by producing fake/Forged Handicapped Certificate and the department has taken some against them. Please provide the some Information in softcopy at firstname.lastname@example.org under RTI Act, 2005: 1- Name of the Candidate/Employee who joined Enforcement Directorate, New Delhi as Stenographer in year 2017 by producing fake/Forge Handicapped Certificate.
2- Provide the details of the action which has been taken by Enforcement Directorate, New Delhi and soft copy of letters issued to candidate.
3- This matter relates to forgery, such as most likely under IPC 468 and other IPC 420, 415 & 474 etc., as candidate/employee has intention to cheat department. Provide the details if any FIR has been filed against the candidate/employee and also provide the soft copy of FIR. 4- If no FIR has been filed, provide the information for not filing any FIR against the candidate/employee.”
2. The CPIO responded on 28-09-2018. The appellant filed the first appeal dated 15-10-2018 which was disposed of by the first appellate authority on 13-11- 2018. Thereafter, he filed a second appeal u/Section 19(3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission: Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. of the RTI Act before the Commission requesting to take appropriate legal action against the CPIO u/Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005 and also to direct him to provide the sought for information.
3. The appellant, Mr. Devant Sen did not attend the hearing and also could not be contacted at the scheduled time of hearing despite efforts. Mr. Vipin, AEO participated in the hearing representing the respondent through audio conferencing along with Mr. Rajesh Reedla, ALA. The written submissions are taken on record.
4. The respondent contended that there is no corruption or human rights violation in the matter and the appellant has merely sought investigation related information. They further contended that no corruption angle is reflected in this matter as far as the content of the RTI application is concerned. Hence, the RTI Act, 2005 is not applicable to their organization which has been placed at Serial No. 5 of the 2nd Schedule r/w Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005.
5. Since the appellant is not present to contest the case, this Commission takes note of the documents annexed with the 2nd appeal wherein he has specifically alleged that some candidates had secured wrongful employment with the public authority in the year 2017 in the cadre of stenographer on the basis of forged documents in respect of which departmental action was initiated against them.
6. Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005 to the extent it is relevant reads as under:-
“24. Act not to apply to certain organizations. - (1) Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government. Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violation shall not be excluded under this sub-section:”
7. Primarily, the legal issue to be decided herein is whether any direction can be issued to the respondent under the RTI Act, 2005 for providing the sought for information. It is noteworthy to mention that the Directorate of Enforcement has been excluded from the purview of the RTI Act, 2005 except in the case of allegations of corruption or human rights violations. In the present case, the appellant has sought information specifically relating to the functioning of the HR department of the Enforcement Directorate wherein allegedly some candidates had obtained wrongful employment thereby producing fake/forged Handicapped Certificate. The appellant’s contention that he is seeking information relating to corruption within the organization, has merit and the response provided by respondent is misplaced and based on an erroneous interpretation of Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005. The word ‘corruption’ used in Section 24 has broader connotation which also includes wrongful employment by the public authority. In view of this, the respondent is directed to send a revised point-wise reply to the appellant thereby indicating the factual position with reference to the RTI application as per the RTI Act, 2005, within a period of 15 working days from the date of receipt of this order.
8. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
9. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Neeraj Kumar Gupta
Citation: Devant Sen v. The Directorate Of Enforcement in Second Appeal No. CIC/DIREN/A/2019/100207, Date of order: 03-09-2020