Transfer of RTI Application u/s 6(3) - CIC: The PIO’s reliance on the DoPT OM dated 24.09.2010 is misplaced in the light of Sec 6(3) of the RTI Act; A strict warning issued to the Nodal officer for delaying the transfer of the RTI application
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Date on which Magadh University Bodhgaya, Bihar was given permission by UGC for conducting MBA. Provide copy of the order.
2. List of the students who completed their MBA during 1986-1988 from Magadh University, Bodhgaya, Bihar.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The Appellant has not availed of the opportunity to plead his case despite duly served notice on 23.01.2020 vide speed post acknowledgment no. ED581036443IN.
The CPIO submitted that an apt reply was provided to the appellant vide letter dated 24.08.2018. On a query by the Commission he relied on an OM of the DoPT dated 24.09.2010 which advises the applicant to make separate applications to the concerned public authorities for obtaining information from them.
Based on a perusal of the record, it was noted that the RTI application was received on 25.05.2018 by the Nodal Officer. The Nodal Officer forwarded the same to Ms. Kundla Mahajan (CPP-I.PU) on 29.05.2018. Ms. Kundla Mahajan had further transferred the same to Smt. Vamshika (S.U) on 21.06.2018. Smt. Vamshika had again transferred the same to Mrs. Usha Arya (RTI, P.G) on 06.08.2018. Mrs Usha Arya had replied on 24.08.2018 as follows:
“You are requested to approach the University authorities in this regard as the University is also a public authority.”
The above reply that too after 3 months is highly deplorable. Sec 6(3) of the RTI Act reads as follows:
“Where an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information,—
(i) which is held by another public authority; or
(ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer: Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this sub‑section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application.”
In view of the above observations, the then CPIOs, the Nodal Officer, Ms. Kundla Mahajan (CPP-I.PU), Smt. Vamshika (S.U) are issued a strict warning for delaying the transfer of the RTI application. Moreover, this reply whereby the appellant was suggested to approach the University authorities in this regard as the University is also a public authority could have been given by the Nodal Officer himself at the relevant time rather than transferring the RTI application multiple times. However, as the appellant is not present to contest the case, no further direction is being given to the CPIO.
The present CPIO’s reliance on the OM of the DoPT dated 24.09.2010 is misplaced in the light of Sec 6(3) provision of the RTI Act. The CPIOs shall take note of the above observations and remain careful in future.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Rajdeo Ram v. University Grants Commission in Decision no.: CIC/UGCOM/A/2018/158929/02885, Date of Decision: 13/02/2020