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
The Metropolitan Magistrate also restrained media from reporting and publishing proceedings of the case after Delhi Police filed an application for in-camera proceedings
New Delhi: Proceedings in the case of gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in a bus in Delhi will be held in camera, a local court on Monday ordered after the five accused were produced before it, reports PTI.
Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal also restrained media from reporting and publishing proceedings of the case after Delhi Police filed an application for in-camera proceedings.
"Keeping in view the situation which has arisen in this case, proceedings, including the inquiry and the trial, to be held in-camera. I am invoking section 327 (2)(iii) of Cr PC. Hence, all public persons and everybody present in the court room are directed to vacate the court room."
"It shall not be lawful to print or publish any matter or content in this case except with the permission of this court," the judge said in the order.
Challenging the order, some lawyers filed an application before the District Judge RK Gauba for lifting the curb on the media.
Gauba issued notice to the Delhi Police and posted the issue for hearing on 9th January.
Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan moved an application for in-camera proceedings, two-days after Delhi police issued an advisory that the proceedings in the case cannot be reported as the court has already taken cognisance of the charge sheet, under sections 302 (murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Allowing the police plea, the court said, "An unprecedented situation has arisen where the members of the bar and public persons even unconnected with the case have started converging in the courtroom where the matter is going on, since 12 noon. The court room has become jam-packed with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners.
A RTI reply from the President's Secretariat has revealed that Pratibha Patil got invitation to visit Seychelles through telegram, which was later destroyed by shredding and then by burning by the Central Cipher Bureau as per prescribed norms
New Delhi: Pratibha Patil, who had undertaken a number of foreign trips as President, visited Seychelles for which invitation came as a telegram, reports PTI.
The invitation was received by Central Cipher Bureau (CCB) and the CCB telegram in question has been destroyed by shredding and then by burning as per prescribed norms, an RTI reply from the President's Secretariat has revealed. The Central Cipher Bureau deciphers coded messages for the Government.
RTI activist Subhash Chadra Agrawal, who had filed the application said, "All this creates enough surprise that 'telegrams' are even now-a-days prevailing for communication, secondly such important foreign communications making India's President undertaking a costly foreign-tour is not preserved, and lastly but more importantly that just a telegraphic invitation is enough for head of world's largest democracy to undertake a foreign tour cancelling all previous engagements and appointments."
Patil who had undertaken 14 foreign trips covering 24 countries had visited Seychelles and South Africa during the last leg of her tenure between 29 April-7 May 2012.
Acting on the Central Information Commission (CIC) orders, the Secretariat stated, "As regards copy of the invitation received from the President of Seychelles, it is informed that the invitation was received by CCB and the CCB telegram in question has been destroyed by shredding and then by burning, as per prescribed norms of handling CCBs, under the signature of the then Joint Secretary to the President."
The Secretariat said Patil's grandchildren Prithvi Singh Shekhawat and Vedika Rathore had also travelled with her.
"All this creates suspicion on planning of such a trip especially at a time when Pratibha Patil gathered enough controversy on super-princely expense of Rs205 crore on her earlier foreign trips prior to her last Presidential trip to South Africa and Seychelles where her family-members and friends enjoyed all leisure and pleasure at public-expense in name of grossly misused 'tradition'," Mr Agrawal said.
When the matter reached the CIC, the Secretariat submitted that invitation was with the CCB and could not be disclosed.
"He (CPIO) must write to the appellant once again either providing the copy of the invitation or, if he decides to deny it, then to pass a speaking order citing the appropriate exemption provisions of the RTI Act," Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra had directed.
Patil had come under media headlines after it was revealed under the RTI Act that her foreign travels had cost exchequer over Rs205 crore.