RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: Education dept at MCD did not have info on retired employees

Despite orders from the CIC, the PIO could not provide complete information as the education department at the MCD was not maintaining proper data. The CIC directed the PIO to pay a compensation to the appellant for pursing the matter for over a year. This is the 111th 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 Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Education department at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to pay Rs3,000 as compensation to the appellant for pursuing the matter for over a year and pointing out mistakes of the department.


While giving this judgement on 13 April 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, “Since the fault appears to be improper maintenance records in the public authority the Commission sees this as a fit case where compensation should be given to the appellant for having to pursue this matter and pointing out the mistakes of the department.”


New Delhi resident Ram Pal Sharma, on 2 March 2009, sought information about the number of retired people in last three years in the Education department at the MCD from the Public Information Officer (PIO). Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act and the reply provided by the PIO...


1. List of retired officers from education department including their names, designation at the time of retirement, place and date.      

PIO's Reply: List of retired employee form education department from 31/01/2006 to …… Will be given very soon.


2. Number of retired officers who have been upgraded to the new pay-scale?

PIO's Reply: 84 retired employees have been upgraded to the new pay-scale. (List has been provided)


3. Number of retired officers whose dues (Leave encashment, arrears, pension and gratuity) has been paid.      

PIO's Reply: Leave encashment of 84 retired employees has been sent to accounts department and request letter for dues as well.


4. Number of officers who have not been upgraded and paid their dues.

PIO's Reply: It will be clear after completion of activity in query no. 1.


5. Name of the responsible person who has caused such delay and whether any inquiry or action has been taken.    

PIO's Reply: No such carelessness has been shown.


6. Number of attendants working during school time.     

PIO's Reply: One attendant and two teachers are working in this office. The teacher works additional to his work in school.


7. Name of the person who perform the duty of teacher and attendant and who takes responsibility if any mishap occurs?      

PIO's Reply: Works are done according to its importance by other attendants.


Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Sharma filed his first appeal. However, there was no mention of any order passed by the First Appellate Authority (FAA).


Sharma then approached the CIC with his second appeal. During the hearing, he pointed out several errors in the information provided to him. The PIO admitted the mistakes and stated that this was because the public authority’s information was in complete disarray. The PIO promised to ensure that the accurate information will be provided.


Mr Gandhi, while allowing the appeal on 6 July 2009 directed the PIO to give complete and accurate information to Sharma before 20 July 2009.


However, the Commission received a letter dated 24 August 2009 from the appellant stating that the information received from the PIO vide letter dated 15 July 2009 was incomplete. Following query from the CIC, the appellant on 14 September 2009 sent proof and clarifications to support his allegations. The Commission then on 25 November 2009 directed the PIO and deputy education officer (DEO) to respond to the allegations before 17 December 2009.


Since there was no response from the PIO and DEO, the Commission issued a show-cause notice and asked the PIO to submit explanations as to why penalty should not be imposed on him under Section 20 of the RTI Act.


During the hearing on 28 January 2010, the PIO and DEO Kanwar Singh stated that he did not receive the Commission's notice dated 25 November 2009 and therefore was unaware of the appellant's allegations.


After the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, directed the PIO to respond to the allegations and provide accurate information to the appellant before 21 February 2010. The PIO was also directed to appear before the Commission for show cause hearing.


The Commission received a copy of the information dated 12 February 2010 sent to the appellant. However the PIO did not appear on 8 March 2010 and the Commission did not receive any written submissions from him explaining the delay in providing complete information to the appellant. The Commission also did not receive any communication from him explaining his absence on 8 March 2010.


The CIC again issued a notice on 15 March 2010 to the PIO for hearing of the show-cause notice along with his written explanations to show cause why penalty should not be imposed and disciplinary action not be recommended against him for defying the orders of the Commission.


During the hearing on 13 April 2010, the Commission noted that Sharma, the appellant had been seeking information about number of retired people during past three years. The PIO claimed that though a register was supposed to be maintained giving the details of the retired employees this was not been done in the office. Consequently, he claimed that he took the information from various service books and tried to provide the information.


Initially in July 2009, the appellant was given a list of 90 people. The appellant pointed out that 14 names were missing. Subsequently a list of 151 retired persons for that period was provided, which surprisingly omitted 35 names that were there in the original list.


The PIO stated that the list of 35 names has been missed and that now the register has been updated properly since the appellant has been pursuing the matter under RTI.


“Based on the PIO's contentions it appears that the essential records which should have been maintained by the public authority have not been maintained. This has resulted in the appellant having to repeatedly pursue the matter. A larger implication is pointed out by the appellant that a number of retired teachers are being harassed since their retirement dues are not properly delivered,” the CIC noted.


Mr Gandhi, then directed the PIO to provide the correct list with the information whether the retirement dues of all the people have been paid before 30 April 2010.


While allowing the appeal, the CIC said, “Since the appellant has certainly been harassed a number of times while he was pursuing the mode of getting the public authority to maintain its records properly and ensuring that the public authority discharges its duty towards its employees. To compensate the cost incurred by the appellant and the agony of pursuing the department the Commission awards a compensation of Rs3,000 to the appellant."




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001251/3994Adjunct-I


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001251



Appellant                                          : Ram Pal Sharma

                                                            New Delhi-110032


Respondent                                       : Kanwar Singh

                                                            Public Information Officer &

                                                            Dy. Education Officer

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            Office of the Dy. Education Officer

                                                            Shahadara North Zone

                                                            Shahadara, New Delhi.


India’s industrial output growth slows to 2% in April

Meanwhile, the industrial growth in 2012-13 has also been revised slightly upwards to 1.1% from provisional estimates of 1% released in May

The industrial production growth has slipped to 2% in April on account of dismal performance of manufacturing, mining and power sectors coupled with lower output of capital goods.


The factory output measured in terms of index of industrial production (IIP) had seen a contraction of 1.3% in April last year, according to official data released in New Delhi on Wednesday.


Meanwhile, the IIP growth rate for March this year has been revised to 3.4% from the provisional estimates of 2.5% released last month.


The industrial growth in 2012-13 has also been revised slightly upwards to 1.1% from provisional estimates of 1% released in May. IIP growth in 2011-12 was 2.9%.


The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by meagre 2.8% in April against a decline in the output by 1.8% in the year-ago month.


Power generation grew by just 0.7% in April this year compared to a growth of 4.6% in same month last year.


The mining sector output contracted by 3% in April this year compared to a decline in the production by 2.8% in April 2012.


The capital goods output saw a growth of just 1% in April this year compared to a decline in production by 21.5% in the year-ago period.


Overall, 13 out of the 22 industry groups in manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during April.


The consumer goods output also saw a meagre growth of 2.8% in April, compared to 3.7% in same month last year.


The decline in the output of consumer durables stood at 8.3% in April, from a growth of 5.4% in the same month of 2012.


The consumer non-durables output grew by 12.3% in April against 2.3% in April last year.


The intermediate goods production grew by 2.4% in April compared to a decline in output by 1.8% in year-ago period.


The basic goods output grew by 1.3% in the reported month from 1.9% in April 2012.


Well-Written Article
The Cover Story “Timeshares Are a Bad Deal” in Moneylife (30 May 2013) is well written after thorough research. It brought out the plight of middle-class investors who have put in their hard-earned savings into these, thinking that these are inflation proof—based on the advertisements and promotional materials provided by these companies. Most of these companies have not kept up many of their promises and, when confronted, hide under the few clauses mentioned in such agreements. However, the following issues—many of them covered by you—need to be noted.
a) Promoting these as inflation-proof is misleading and should be stopped immediately. A disclaimer to this effect should be published in every advertisement—print or visual.
b) Continuously rising AMC (annual maintenance charges) based on inflation or citing other reasons is not acceptable as most of these companies have collected a substantial portion towards these expenses initially at the time of selling/buying.
c) Continuously rising utility charges without any basis or proper explanation and charging a flat rate at the resorts for water & electricity is perhaps another source of revenue.
d) Suddenly introducing a guest fee and increasing it in a short span de-motivates investors from selling them or gifting them to friends and relatives.
e) Not assisting the investor to sell his holidays or timeshare, is being non-cooperative.
f) Putting roadblocks if someone tries to sell the holidays or disinvest the timeshare—by making it more expensive for the buyer, so that he will approach the company directly, instead of buying from a reseller, leads to non-utilisation of the holidays by the original user. This enables the company to sell it to outsiders and make more money from the same property. 
g) Availability is another issue.
h) Transparency is lacking in most of the cases.
i) Food prices are exorbitant at these resorts, as most of these resorts are located far away from the towns/ cities. We are forced to buy food at such high prices from them. 
j) Resorts being far away from civilisation has made travelling more expensive and over-dependent on the resorts expensive travel facilities.
k)  Exit option is practically difficult, for those who find this expensive later.
l) Highly illiquid and cannot be sold easily in the market. Money is locked.
In the United Kingdom, timeshare business is regulated by a separate Act. In India, it should be brought under SEBI’s Collective Investment Scheme Regulations, 1999. This fits into the definition u/s 11 AA of the SEBI Act. It is high time these investments are regulated by SEBI. We are in the process of collecting and documenting the information, after which we are thinking of taking it up with the regulator.
Nagappan V, president, Securities & Timeshare Owners’ Association, by email
Nucent Clarifies 
This refers to a comment in Moneylife (page 39, 16 May 2013). Nucent Estates Limited was earlier a finance and leasing company—namely, Pressman Leasings Limited (changed to Nucent Finance Limited). In view of the defaults in financial services business, the management decided to exit the finance and leasing business. Since it exited the finance business, as per directive from Reserve Bank of India, the name of the company had to be changed. Accordingly, this was changed to Nucent Estates Limited as the management’s objective was to enter real estate business. 
Unfortunately, the real estate business did not take off.  To revive the company, the management decided to merge Pressman Advertising Limited, an established advertising and PR agency, with the company. The merger is being carried out to revive the fortunes of the company by the merger of a profitable, debt-free company.
The Scheme of merger has been approved by Mumbai Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, where the shares are listed as well as the regional stock exchanges, namely, Calcutta Stock Exchange and Delhi Stock Exchange. The Scheme has been approved by the shareholders of the company and is presently pending before the Hon’ble High Court at Kolkata.
RL Sureka, director, Nucent Estates Limited, by email
Media Propaganda
This is regarding the article “Focus on the India-focused” in Moneylife (2 May 2013). The author seems to believe the media propaganda that Indian IT industry is mainly a sweat-shop where nothing more than back-office work takes place. I would like to express a strong objection to it.
I work in the software services industry and can confidently say that the industry has come a long way from the Y2K years to the state it is in now, giving employment to millions of youth and has emerged as the fourth largest employer in this country in a short span of 15 years.
If the author wants to see some products developed by Indian IT industry, he can look at Finacle by Infosys, companies like Zoho, Tringme, etc.
Abinash Deepak, by email
Rightful Remuneration 
This is with regard to “Why don’t funds promote trail commissions instead of upfront commissions?” on Moneylife website. I am in favour of upfront plus trail model. The problems generated by higher upfront commissions should be dealt with other innovative measures rather than banning upfront and depriving of the small distributor of his rightful remuneration for introducing a new investor or new investment to mutual funds. There is definitely a case for upfront commission. 
Do we have a doctor who takes money only after the patient is cured? Or any advocate who takes fees only when the case is settled and the client wins? Or any builder, architect, travel company, school, tuition class, magazine subscription takes money only after buying their product or service, only when the customer is satisfied? Whether you are satisfied or not, there is some cost involved before manufacturing or providing the service which should be recouped. And, in all cases—any product or service—the end-user has to pay. Does the government collect tax after providing the civic amenities to the citizens? Whatever is offered free is said to be dangerous by experts. Why are only mutual fund distributors singled out to work for free and wait for their dues? What if there is subsequent switch, change of broker, redemption, change of rules, end of mutual fund industry or anything unknown comes into existence? Who will then pay the distributor? 
The regulation has come up only because nobody is able to think of any other way of curbing malpractices. I am fully in support of eliminating bad practices from the industry but not at the cost of the small retail individual distributor, more so for those who are working in remote areas where nobody has dreamt of reaching. Commission is not extracted from asset management companies (AMCs) by distributors. If big distributors are paid by AMCs, action should be there against such AMCs and not against distributors. I hope someone will see the issue in right perspective and put forth the arguments.
DB Desai, by email
Fear of Holding Cash
This is with regard to “Fortnightly Market View: Critical Juncture” by Debashis Basu. Equities were down from 2008-2012 and great companies were available for a song. But individual investors were busy crying foul and were scared of buying equity.
Anyone who has not invested in equities in the past five years, or has sold off in panic and incurred a loss, must stay away from equities forever. But this is easier said than done because, when interest rates head southwards, most individuals suffer from Rhinophobia (fear of holding cash).
Nilesh Kamerkar
Domestic Infotech Vendors’ Woes
This is with regard to “Are Depositors at the Mercy of Bank IT Systems?” by Sucheta Dalal. When we want to, our domestic infotech vendors can set up cash management tech for DMRC or passenger reservation systems for Indian Railways which set global benchmarks.
However, our domestic infotech vendors can, and do, screw up simple things like vehicle registration records, toll collection systems and, of course, banking tech. It is all a question of what the person in charge wants the vendor to deliver. I do feel that as far as the banking verticals are concerned, we are in for much worse.
Veeresh Malik
Pass the Blame
This is with regard to “The Customer Is Always right. But There Are Exceptions” by Sucheta Dalal. Congratulations for this other side story. The instances quoted are stark and there is a tendency to pass the blame and not give credit when due. This is rampant in our society. Such people also need to be exposed.
Anil Agashe 
Hats Off!
This is with regard to “Lease land fraud: Shailesh Gandhi sends notices to revenue secretary, collectors of Mumbai and suburbs.” I think every citizen of Bombay should join this petition. Hats off to Shailesh Gandhi! Please let us know, Sir, if we could join in and strengthen the cause. I think every reader of Moneylife should.
R Balakrishnan
QE is a Disaster
This is with regard to “Quantitative easing myths debunked.” The growth induced by QE—a couple of percentage points—is negligible compared to the amount of increase in central bank’s balance sheet. QE is like a dose of steroids—you have to keep taking it to keep going. The moment you stop it, everything around you will collapse. 
Chandragupta Acharya


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