PIO failed to provide a suitable reply to the RTI application - CIC: Complainant was replied to several times in respect of different RTI applications and is in possession of the available information; PIO cautioned but exempted from any action u/s 20
The Complainant has sought the following information pertaining to Mr. Chiranjiv Prasad:
- Complainant has stated that in part 2 order of the Chiranjiv Prasad, it has been mentioned that he got married on 12/08/2011 and has one daughter named as Pragti Prajapati (DoB-03/04/2012) and one son named as Abhay Raj Prajapati(DoB)- 08/07/2013. In this connection the complainant has sought the copies of the documents, on the basis which said entries have been made in the part 2 order of Mr. Chiranjiv Prasad.
Grounds for Complaint
The CPIO did not provide any information.
Submissions made by Complainant and Respondent during Hearing: The complainant submitted that she has not received any reply from the CPIO 18 FAD. The CPIO submitted that internal investigation was pending before 40 Field Ammunition Depot and hence, no reply could be given.
Based on a perusal of the record, it was noted that the CPIO erred in not providing a reply to the complainant. A suitable timely reply should have been given.
The CPIO’s conduct in having provided no reply on the RTI application amounts to gross violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. In view of this, the Commission directs the CPIO to appear before the bench on 25.01.2022 at 1.30 pm. to show cause as to why action should not be initiated against him under Section 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. and (2) of the RTI Act. The CPIO is also directed to send a copy of all supporting documents upon which he chooses to rely upon during the hearing. The said documents be sent to the Commission at least four days prior to the hearing via link paper. If any other persons are responsible for the said omission, the CPIO shall serve a copy of this order on such persons to direct their presence before the bench as well.
The case is adjourned accordingly.
Date of Hearing - 25/01/2022
Date of Decision - 25/01/2022
The following were present:
Respondent: Lt. Col Gangandeep, CPIO, present over phone
Submissions made by Respondent during Hearing:
The concerned CPIO submitted that already relevant information was given vide letter dated 09.01.2020. Further, on 30.01.2020 additional information in respect of salary of Chiranjiv Prasad was given. On a query as to whether a specific reply was given in respect of the present RTI application, the CPIO replied that on 22.07.2020 further information in the form of copies of birth declaration certificate and birth certificate of both the children were given. He also pointed out that the same information was given by AOC Records Secunderabad on 03.01.2020 to the complainant. He further clarified that part II orders were issued based on the documents submitted by Chiranjiv Prasad and the same can be cancelled if proved forged before the competent authority/the civil court.
The Commission observed that Major Gulshan failed to elaborate the facts of the case during the previous hearing and no relevant submissions were received from him which led to issuing this showcause notice. Moreover, it is clear that Major Gagandeep also failed to provide a copy of the suitable reply in respect of the present RTI application. Be that as it may several copies of the replies show that the complainant also is in the habit of asking for similar information seemingly to redress her grievance.
In view of the fact that the complainant was replied to several times in respect of different RTI applications and is in possession of the available information, the Commission took a lenient view and exempted both the officers from any action u/s 20 of the RTI Act. However, Major Gulshan is cautioned to be careful in future while attending CIC hearings and ensure that proper facts are presented before the Commission.
The complaint is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Anuradha v. CPIO 2 ASD (18 FAD), and 40 Field Amn Depot in File no.: - CIC/IARMY/C/2020/118513-Final, Date of Decision: 04/01/2022, 25/01/2022