The first appeal erroneously was received by the PIO and it took 34 days to reach the FAA. Accepting its error in making the charge, the Commission apologised to the FAA. This is the 43rd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
In an interesting case, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had charged the First Appellate Authority (FAA) for not passing an order in the matter within 45 days, the maximum limit under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. However, it was found that the FAA was not at fault since the Public Information Officer (PIO), took 34 days to forward the appeal.
While giving this judgement on 15 March 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner offered his apologies to the FAA for making charge of Vishwa Mohan (the FAA) being ‘guilty of dereliction of duty”.
The appellant filed his first appeal on 20 October 2009, but the FAA passed an order only on 16 December 2009, after 45 days, the maximum time permitted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Based on the information received, the CIC on 22 January 2010, said, “The FAA Vishwa Mohan, Joint Commissioner (Industries) is guilty of dereliction of duty since he had not passed an order in the matter within 45 days which is maximum time permission to give an order as per the RTI Act. Vishwa Mohan is directed to give an explanation to the Commission for his dereliction of duty before 15 February 2010.”
Delhi resident Harishankar Thakur sought information from the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) about aids given to help poor, destitute, blind and handicapped as per Society Registration no. (XXI) 1860. During the hearing, he told the Commission that he received the information only after the order was issued by the FAA. “Thus the second appeal was entirely unnecessary and was made only because of the delay on the part of Vishwa Mohan (FAA) who did not do his duty as per the RTI Act,” the Commission observed.
In a written and oral submission, the FAA stated that was an error on the part of the Commission to have held him ‘guilty’ without giving him an opportunity of hearing. In his reply he stated as below…
(i) He assumed charge as FAA only on 26 October 2009 and hence cannot be held responsible for actions before that.
(ii) A perusal of the records reveals that the RTI appeal was erroneously received by the PIO on 22 October 2009 and after travelling through some officers was received in the office of the FAA only on 26 November 2009.
(iii) On receipt of the appeal on 26 November 2009 he scheduled a hearing on 8 December 2009 which could not be held on that day since he was required to be present in the High Court of Delhi.
(iv) After hearing the matter he gave an order on 16 December 2009. Thus he had issued an order within 19 days of receiving the appeal in his office.
The FAA also requested the Commission to withdraw its charge of “dereliction of duty” against him and close that matter.
After considering the submission of the FAA, the Mr Gandhi, the CIC, said, “I erred in making the statement and should have given an opportunity to him to explain his actions before passing this observation.”
The Commission, said, based on the evidence given by Vishwa Mohan, it appeared that he was not guilty of any dereliction of duty by has actually performed his duty as FAA very diligently. “The appeal was erroneously received in the office of the PIO, from where it took 34 days to reach the FAA. Vishwa Mohan cannot be held accountable for this. The Commission accepts its error in making the charge of Vishwa Mohan being 'guilty of dereliction of duty' and withdraws it completely,” Mr Gandhi said in his decision.
Here is the information sought by Thakur from the Registrar of Society, GNCTD and the reply given by the PIO...
A. Whether any organization under Society Registration Act (XXI) 1860 can implement schemes which include financial transactions?
PIO's Reply- There is no such provision in the Act.
B. If yes. Then what is maximum amount permitted?
PIO's Reply- As stated above, there is no such provision in the Act.
C. Whether using gifted (Dan) amounts is permissible/approved under such schemes to organization namely ‘Utthan’?
PIO's Reply- No such information is available regarding reorganization and justification.
D. If not. Then under which rule such schemes can be implemented?
PIO's Reply- Companies Act, Chit Fund Society and Cooperative Society Act (Threft & Credit)
E. If such organizations are not doing their work as approved, then what action has been taken against such organizations?
PIO's Reply- Registrar of Societies is empowered to take any action against such society.
F. Whether 80 G certificate can be used for other such schemes?
PIO's Reply- No legal opinion can be given in this regard.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/003121/6529adjunct
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/003121
Appellant : Harishankar Thakur
New Delhi - 110059
Respondent : Public Information Officer
Govt. of NCT of Delhi
O/o the Registrar of Society,
Plot no. 419, FIE,
Patparganj Industrial Area,
Delhi - 110092
: First Appellate Authority
Jt. Commissioner of Industries
419, Udyog Sadan
FIE, Patparganj Industrial Area
There was no urgency or will to ensure water supply to Bindapur Colony and this despicable pushing the blame within the government continued for decades without fulfilment of a simple promise. This is the 42nd 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 disposing an appeal, said although it did not have authority in the matter it would send a copy of its decision to the chief minister of Delhi in the hope that a promise made by the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to Bindapur Colony in Pocket 4 can be fulfilled.
While giving this important judgement on 15 February 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said, “Inspite of two chief secretaries (CSs) loftily committing, there is no urgency or will to ensure that water is supplied to this (Bindapur) colony. This despicable pushing the blame within the government can continue for decades without fulfilment of a simple promise made to this colony.”
Delhi resident Jawahar Singh sought information from the GNCTD about a letter written by chief engineer DDA (Dwarka) for supplying water to Bindapur Colony. Here is the information he sought on 13 November 2009 from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the GNCTD...
Information Sought (with reference to a letter written by chief engineer DDA (Dwarka) on 11/02/2007 Bindapur 3856 dated 08/10/2009 No CE by /RTI/D104)....
1. Whether action has been taken on the basis of a letter written by DDA to chief secretary, finance. This letter was written in response to a query sought by the appellant.
2. Whether any fund has been earmarked for different plans.
b) Whether any fund has been set aside for water development in Bindapur Pocket 4.
3. Whether any action has been taken by the finance department of the GNCTD on the basis of the letter sent by DDA.
In his reply on 23 December 2009, the PIO mentioned that the appellant’s RTI application had already been transferred to the office of PR secretary, urban development ministry and also to the office of chief engineer (DWK), DDA Manglapuri.
Not satisfied with the reply, Singh then approached the First Appellate Authority (FAA). The FAA did not pass any order. Then Singh filed his second appeal before the Commission.
During the hearing, the PIO of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) informed the Commission that in 1999 the chief secretary had directed Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to ensure that water supply was provided to Bindapur JJ Colony. On 16 February 1999, the then chief secretary of the GNCTD had recorded that, “CS made it clear that this decision would be specific only to Bindapur JJ Colony and would not act as precedent for any other case. DJB was directed to complete work of provision of water from their own resources.”
Following this directions, government officials held several meetings without getting anywhere near to implementation of the project.
On 1 May 2006, the then CS of GNCTD directed both DJB and DDA to make a joint inspection and issue a deficiency estimate so that the work can be completed. During the inspection, DJB pointed out that the system laid by DDA was not functional. This was also informed to the principal secretary of the urban development (UD) department of the GNCTD. In a meeting on 26 October 2006, the then principal secretary (UD) declared that “principal secretary (UD) made it clear that the services cannot be kept on hold and directed DDA to remove the deficiencies in the presence of DJB, out of funds from their own sources and then hand over the water/sewer lines to DJB. Thereafter, the responsibility of maintenance would rest with the DJB.”
The Commission, said about 15 officers of the Delhi government, with whom it held discussions, indicated that DDA appeared to have spent about Rs1 crore for laying a system of pipes and underground reservoir. DJB also claimed that when the joint inspection was done it was found that the under reservoir had no pipes or equipment for pumping and it was housing pigs and cattle. The DJB official also stated that there was no system in place by which water supply of Bindapur Pocket-4 could be ensured. It was not known what happened to the money spent.
The officials also told the Commission that Bindapur Colony, Pocket-4 was an authorized colony developed by the DDA and there was a difficulty in supplying water to this colony. “Around this colony there are unauthorized colonies to which the government is finding it easy to supply the water. It is apparent that the Delhi Government is incapable of supplying water which is a basic function which the government has to fulfil,” the Commission noted.
Mr Gandhi, in his order, said, "In spite of two chief secretaries loftily committing that water has to be supplied to this colony. There is no urgency or will to ensure that water is supplied to this colony. This Commission has no authority in this matter but will send a copy of this decision to the chief minister of Delhi in the hope that a promise made by the Government to Bindapur Colony, Pocket-4 can be fulfilled.”
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000073/6839
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000073
Appellant : Jawahar Singh,
New Delhi- 110059.
Respondent : SKS Yadav
Public Information Officer & JS
Government of NCT of Delhi.
9th Floor, Delhi Secretariat, New Delhi
One head clerk, Shishram from the MCD kept the CVO’s order in a cupboard for over a year. Whether keeping the file in the cupboard was a deliberate act or inadvertent, asked the CIC. This is the 41st 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, asked the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) and Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to give a report outlining reasons and persons responsible for not carrying out his orders of an investigation.
While giving this important judgement on 13 April 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said, “It is a matter of distress that though the Chief Vigilance Officer clearly indicates that the investigation does not need more than a month, he is unable to exercise any control over the process to ensure that his order is implemented.”
Delhi resident Dr Soobrata Roy sought information from MCD about his letter submitted to the CVO and a reported scam in medicine purchases in Hindu Rao Hospital. He sought the following information...
In the above said letter CVO had ordered to “conduct fresh enquiry and report in one month time”
(a) Was the above order followed by its letter & spirit by the subordinate officers & staff?
(i) If yes, Give me the details of certified copies of all documents, letters, and files with file notings related to the above enquiry and its report.
(ii) If no, what action was taken or is being taken in this matter and give me the date on which the investigating team was formed?
(iii) Are the investigating officers working under threat of persecution from the well-wishers of those scamsters?
(iv) Are the officers being pressurized to go slow on the matter? If no, Why are they so scared enough, to risk defying the CVO’s order? Please give details.
This is a possibility because the highly corrupt people in MCD rules the roost & are highly rewarded with promotions & lucrative postings, any opposition to their activities leads to transfers & suspensions, as has been in our case.
Records have been obtained and investigation is under process.
The investigation is going on. Statements of officials are being recorded and record has been called for. No team was formed.
The complaint in question remained unattended in the almirah of the official who retired from Mpl. Services to whom the complaint was assigned to investigate.
No, the investigation in question is time consuming.
CAG in its report in 2007 had pointed out the similar irregularities in Hindu Rao Hospital and matter was highly publicized in both the visual & print media during the period from 25.04.2007 to 01.05.2007. Press or Newspaper cuttings must have been produced before the senior officers.
(a) Please give me the certified copies of all the above press/newspaper cutting related to CAG reports indicating irregularities in Hindu Rao Hospital, placed before the senior most officers of MCD during the period from 25.04.2007 to 01.05.2007.
(b) With details of their movement, and action taken on them at each level on a day to day basis till date.
As per record, there is no such information available in file
Not satisfied with the PIO’s reply, Dr Roy filed his first appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA). On 24 October 2009, the FAA ordered that “The reply given by the PIO/Vigilance is found in accordance with provisions of RTI (Right to Information) Act. However, in the interest of justice, the PIO/Vigilance is directed to issue necessary direction to ADOV-II to complete the investigation into the matter in a time bound manner preferably within one month”.
After failing to get any response on the investigation report, Dr Roy then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During a hearing, Mr Gandhi, the CIC, noted that Dr Roy had been asking about a reported scam in medicine purchases in Hindu Rao Hospital. “The scandalous state of affairs was that though Pradeep Srivastava, the Chief Vigilance officer, in April 2007 had ordered to conduct the enquiry in one month, no action was taken until April 2008 since it is claimed that one head clerk, Shishram kept the CVO’s order in a cupboard. It is a matter of conjecture whether this file being in the cupboard was a deliberate act or inadvertent,” the Commission observed.
After Dr Roy filed an RTI application and the matter was reported to Srivastava as FAA, the order for investigation within a month was re-issued. But there was no action.
Mr Gandhi then asked Srivastava, the CVO to ensure that the investigation report is completed and to enquire why his orders are flouted repeatedly. “The CVO will give a copy of the investigation report in the Hindu Rao medicine purchases. He will also give a report outlining reasons and persons responsible for not carrying out his orders. These will be given to the appellant and the Commission before 15 May 2009,” the Commission said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000154/2720
Appeal No. CIC/ SG/A/2009/000154
Appellant : Dr Soobrata Roy,
Respondent : Pradeep Srivastava
Chief Vigilance Officer & PIO
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
16- Rajpur Road, Delhi-110054