RTI Judgement Series: Record keepers at MCD have no records of charge handover since 1995
The CIC directed additional commissioner of MCD to make a report on when the charge list at factory licensing department would be prepared and provided to the applicant. This is the 90th 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 additional commissioner of revenues at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to give a report to the Commission and the appellant before 30 April 2009 on when the charge list at factory licensing department pending since 1995 would be prepared.
While giving this judgement on 9 April 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “In spite an order from the FAA to prepare the list of files in one month, the work has not been completed and the PIO states he cannot commit when the work will be over. The implication is that the FAA had no idea about the extent of work. This is pathetic state of affairs.”
New Delhi resident Kishan Lal Bansal, on 12 August 2008, sought a certified copy of charge list of record maintained at the time of taking and handing over the charge of record by the respective record keepers since 1995 from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the factory licensing department at MCD under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information he sought and the reply given by the PIO...
1. Please state that which reply is correct from the replies dated 14 March 2008 and 11 July 2008 given by you in ID No299/ADC/FL, as vide reply dated 14 March 2008 it was stated by you that no charge list was prepared and vide reply dated 11 July 2008 it was stated by you that not traceable in spite of best efforts?
PIO's Reply: The question asked by you does not construe information under RTI Act, 2005.
2. As you have stated in your reply no. AO/FL/08/1295/GC/08 dated 14 March 2008 that due to large numbers of files in the record no file wise charge list was prepared, so please state if there is any circular/office order/notification, which prohibits to made and maintain the charge list of hand over/takeover of record in case of files in record? If yes, please provide the copy of the same?
PIO's Reply: The question asked by you does not construe an information under RTI Act, 2005.
Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Bansal filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order said, “It is undisputed that the charge list ought to have been prepared by the respective record keepers at the time of handing over/taking over the charge of record keeper. This, however, seems not to have been done. I, therefore, direct PIO (FL)/AC (CL&EC) to call for an explanation from all the record keepers who have worked in the department since 1995, as per the list provided to the appellant and the present keeper should be asked to prepare the inventory of the files available in the record with the assistance, if required, of earlier, the certified copy of the charge list, so prepared, may be provided to the appellant. This exercise must be completed within one week.”
Despite orders from the FAA, the appellant did not receive the list of files from the PIO. He then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, the PIO admitted that the department does not have a list of files at all and in spite of the order given by Rajesh Prakash, additional deputy commissioner (factory licencing) and FAA on 21 October 2008 to prepare the list of files in one month, the work has not been completed.
GK Khanna, superintendent at the factory licencing stated that they are doing the job but cannot commit when the work will be over. “The implication is that Rajesh Prakash, the additional deputy commissioner (factory licencing) and FAA had no idea about the extent of the work,” Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted.
In view of this pathetic state of affairs, he then directed PS Tomar, additional commissioner for Revenues, to make a report on when the work would be over and the information provided to the appellant.
Bansal also contended that he was give false information in his previous two RTI applications. The Commission then looked into the replies and found that same reply was given in both cases.
“In one answer the PIO has tried to explain the reasons for the non-existence of the charge list and in the second he has stated that the charge list is not traceable. Both have provided the same information that the charge list is not in existence,” Mr Gandhi noted.
Bansal insisted that a penalty must be imposed on the PIO. However, the Commission said there was no merit in this demand.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000101/2676
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000101
Appellant : Kishan Lal Bansal,Delhi-110006.
Respondent: PIO, (Factory Licensing Deptt.), Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Nigam Bhawan, Kashmere Gate, Delhi-110006.