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Despite an order from the CIC, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi failed to display information about encroachments on public lands on its website and the PIO was asked to compensate the applicant for the trouble. This is the 18th in a series of important judgements given by Shailesh Gandhi, former CIC, that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
A public authority must display information suo moto as per Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. However, despite specific orders by the Central Information Commission (CIC), the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) failed to do so. While giving this important judgement, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, awarded a compensation of Rs1,000 to the applicant since the public authority had not displayed information suo moto as per the order from the Commission.
“The appellant has been made to use RTI and unnecessarily file first and second appeals for information which should have been available to him suo moto as per Section 4 of the RTI Act,” the Central Information Commission (CIC) said in its order dated 20 May 2011.
New Delhi resident BR Anand, on 6 January 2011, sought information from the PIO of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) about displaying information on the website regarding encroachments on public lands in the city. He sought the following information...
“1) Besides existing on-going unauthorized constructions, did the Chief Information Commission direct the MCD to put up on its website the list of encroachments on public land?
2) If yes, has the MCD put up a list of encroachments on public land on its website in respect of Karol Bagh Zone?
3) If not, the reason for not doing so?
4) Please provide me information about encroachments on municipal/public lands in the Western Extension Area which falls in the jurisdiction of Karol Bagh Zone?”
However, the PIO denied the information saying that “the information sought is not available in records”.
Unsatisfied with the reply, Mr Anand then approached the First Appellate Authority (FAA). However, the FAA also disposed off the appeal, upholding the reply given by the PIO.
Mr Anand then filed second appeal before the Commission saying that the PIO has been unable to confirm or deny the information citing it is not available on records with the MCD.
During the hearing on 20 May 2011, the Commission recalled its previous order (Decision no. CIC/SG/A/2010/002731/10176 dated 26 November 2010). The order to MCD was...
“The Commission under its powers under Section 25(5) and Section 19(8)(a) of the RTI Act recommends to the Municipal Commissioner of Delhi to ensure that all wards and offices maintain separate registers to record the complaints about encroachments on public lands from 01 January 2011. The Commission also directs that this information must be put-up wards-wise on the website of the Corporation each month from February 2011 onwards.”
Mr Anand wanted to know if the MCD had followed the order given by the Commission. However, the PIO stated that he was unaware of it.
The Commission directed the PIO to ensure that this information is put up on the website immediately. Under its powers under Section-19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, the Commission also awarded a compensation of Rs1,000 to the appellant for the loss and detriment suffered by him in not been able to obtain the information and filing the first and second appeal.
While allowing the appeal, the Commission said, “The PIO is directed to ensure that the information as per order of the Commission is displayed on the website of the MCD before 10 May 2011 and a compliance report sent to the appellant and the Commission before 20 June 2011. The PIO is also directed to ensure that a cheque of Rs1,000 as compensation is sent to the appellant before 30 July 2011.”
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000686/12461
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000686
Appellant : B R Anand
New Delhi - 110005
Respondent : Suresh Chandra
PIO & SE
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
O/o The SE Nigam Bhawan
Anand Parbat, Karol Bagh Zone,
Karol Bagh, New Delhi