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RTI Judgement Series: Five PIOs say they do not have any information

Five PIOs, who dealt with the RTI application, finally said they did not have any information. The CIC said, this shows a pathetic deficiency in the government where nobody knows who is responsible for something. This is the 92nd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the principal secretary to the Lt Governor of Delhi to enquire into the matter and send the correct information to the appellant and the Commission before 10 May 2009.

While giving this judgement on 27 April 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “After five Public Information Officers (PIOs) had dealt with this, the PIO of the services department at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) came up with the great information that they did not have any information. This shows a pathetic deficiency in the government, where nobody knows who is responsible for something.”
 
New Delhi resident Mamta, on 20 November 2008, sought information pertaining to the powers of the Lt. Governor of GNCTD from the PIO of services department under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information she sought...

1. Whether the Lt Governor, GNCTD is competent in his individual official capacity to make service rules/policy provisioning re-appointment of retired government servants of the Delhi government on contract basis without a Bill to this effect passed by Delhi Legislative Assembly?
2. If yes, how long the rules so notified/ introduced by the Lt Governor will remain valid/operative, if the same is not tabled before Delhi Legislative Assembly for passage?
3. Whether the Lt Governor, GNCTD can make rules/legislation independently in exercise of his powers of legislative subordination? What is his extent of subordinate legislation?
4. Certified copy of official document/orders which empowers the Lt Governor to make rules provisioning contract re-appointment of retired government servant may be supplied.


In his reply the PIO stated,”...your letter noF17/290/08/RTI/GAD/Admn/3723-24 dated 28 November 2008 (received on 1 December 2008) of General Administration Department (GAD) whereby your application (now allotted ID No 639/ RTI/ Services) was  forwarded to this department also under the RTI (Right to Information) Act.  In this connection, it is informed that this department does not deal with the subject matter. Therefore, the information asked for is not available with this department.”

Not satisfied with the reply, Mamta filed her first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “I have heard the appellant and the PIO and gone through the RTI application and appeal of the appellant and is of the view that as this department does not deal with the subject matter raised by the appellant in his appeal and RTI application, the appellant was appropriately replied. Nothing subsists in the appeal."

Mamta then approached the CIC with her second appeal.

During the hearing the PIO stated that the application was made to the PIO of the Delhi Legislative Assembly Secretariat who transferred the application to GAD. The GAD in turn transferred it to the PIO of the services department and PIO at Lt Governor's Secretariat. In short, five PIOs dealt with the RTI application and came up with the answer that they do not have any information.

While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, said this (forwarding the application to five PIOs and then saying that no information available) shows a pathetic deficiency in the government.

He then directed the principal secretary to the Lt Governor to enquire into this matter and send the correct information to the appellant (Mamta).

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000382/2957
http://rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/SG-27042009-18.pdf
Appeal No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000382

Appellant       : Mamta
                            Delhi.
    
Respondent    : PIO
                            Govt. of NCT of Delhi
                            Services Department: Coordination Branch
                            Delhi Secretariat, 7th Level, 'B' Wing
                            IP Estate, New Delhi- 110113.
 

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