RTI Judgement Series: Delhi govt not willing to seal illegal tube wells
Moneylife Digital Team 12 August 2013

The PIO contended that the file was not traceable. The CIC noted that out of six illegal tube wells, five were still operative since the Delhi Government does not appear to have willingness to stop it. This is 153rd 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) in the Revenues Department at Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to file a police complaint about a file that was not traceable.


While giving this judgement on 9 May 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It is apparent that Dr Gian Singh has been threatened and despite the CIC drawing attention of the Lt governor, chief minister and the commissioner of police, the illegal operation of tube wells continue unhindered since the state government is unable to take any action.”


Delhi resident Mahendra Pal Singh, on 21 September 2010, sought from the PIO information about a complaint, which has been filed on 4 May 2010 in the office of Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) at Hauz Khas regarding illegal operation of tube wells at Sangam Vihar. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act.


1. Supply information of the action taken by the SDM, Hauz Khas, on complaint of Dr Gian Singh alleging involvement of Halqa Patwari in installing illegal tube wells.

2. Supply information of the action taken against illegal tube-well operators, extracting the ground water in violation of the Environment Protection Act.

3. What was the reason for taking no action till now?


In his reply, the PIO stated...

"1. The information cannot be furnished at this time as the concerned file cannot be traced within the office. The office has sent a letter to the complainant requesting him to resubmit the complaint.

2. Regarding the action initiated by this office against illegal operations of tube wells in Sangam Vihar, the office has already communicated to the Delhi Police seeking their assistance for sealing the tube wells. Reply from Delhi Police is still awaited."


Not satisfied with the information supplied by the PIO, the applicant (Singh) filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) directed the PIO to furnish the requisite information within 10 days of receipt of his order.


Since the PIO did not provide the information within stipulated time, Singh then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that the appellant was seeking information about a complaint filed on 4 May 2010 in the office of SDM(Hauz Khas) regarding illegal operation of Tubewells at Sangam Vihar. "The Commission had issued an order noCIC/SG/C/2009/000977/10154 of 25 November 2010 in which it had been recorded that Dr Gian Singh who had been complaining about illegal tubewells was being threatened on the instigation of Pappu Meena, Halka Patwari of SDM (Hauz Khas)," the Bench noted.


At that time, the PIO had stated that the file relating to the complaint was not traceable. The PIO reiterated that the file was still not traceable. "It is quite likely that the file has been stolen," the Bench said.


Mr Gandhi then directed the PIO to file a police complaint regarding the theft of the said file, giving the names of the officers who last handled the file, a copy of which will be given to the appellant and the Commission before 30 May 2011.


The PIO stated that action to be initiated against the illegal operation of tube wells at Sangam Vihar has been transferred to SDM (Kalkaji).


Following the order from the CIC on 25 November 2010, the joint commissioner of police in a written statement informed the Commission that, "...it is stated that the SDM (Kalkaji), Delhi had fixed the sealing program on 11 February 2011, and sufficient police force was provided by the Delhi Police for sealing the six illegal tubewells in C and F Block at Sangam Vihar. Only one illegal tube well found stalled at F-1/245, Sangam Vihar and was sealed by SDM (Kalkaji). Additional commissioner of police at South East District has been directed to provide sufficient police force as and when required for, to complete the sealing operation peacefully."


Mr Gandhi said, "It appears that the balance five illegal tube wells were being operative since the Delhi government does not appear have willingness to stop the illegal tube wells. It is apparent that Dr Gian Singh has been threatened and despite the Commission drawing attention of the Lt governor, chief minister and the Commissioner of Police, the illegal operation continues unhindered since the Delhi Government is unable to take any action."


While allowing the appeal, the CIC directed the PIO to file a police complaint as directed above and send copy to Singh, the appellant and the Commission before 30 May 2011.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000574/12314


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000574



Appellant                                            : Mahendra Pal Singh

                                                                   Kalkaji, Delhi - 110019


Respondent                                        : Pravesh Ranjan Jha

                                                            PIO & SDM

                                                            Revenue Department, GNCTD

                                                            O/o SDM (Hauz Khas)

                                                            Old Tehsil Building, Mehrauli

                                                            New Delhi - 110030

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