RTI Judgement Series: Engineers at Delhi defied FAA orders to allow continue illegal construction
Moneylife Digital Team 05 June 2013

Various officers of the Delhi Municipal Corporation colluded to ensure that an illegal construction can continue and the PIO provided the information only during the hearing before the CIC. This is the 107th 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, issued show-cause notices to executive engineers at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), for colluding to deny information to the applicant. The Commission also came to the conclusion that prima facie it appears that the information had been delayed with malafide intention to ensure that an illegal construction can continue.


While giving this judgement on 14 May 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The Commission also feels that there is malafide intention in doing this hence they will show cause why disciplinary action against them should not be recommended as per Section 20(2) of the RTI Act.”


New Delhi resident Raj Kumar Sharma, on 23 October 2009, sought information regarding construction of an illegal building from the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the office of superintending engineer in MCD. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act and the reply provided by the PIO...


1. With regard to property no. 536, 200 square feet area, has anybody taken no-objection certificate (NOC) after depositing map for construction?   

PIO's reply: No


2. Photocopy of the documents for construction for which permission has been taken.          

PIO's reply: No


3. If permission has not been taken with regard to property no. 536, then will the newly constructed building be demolished and when will it be demolished?

PIO's reply: Information is provided through RTI with regard to property no. 536. Investigation is being done. If it is found illegal, necessary action will be taken.


4. How many constructions are being done without map or permission?   

PIO's reply: No such record is available in the office.


Not satisfied with the reply, Sharma then filed his first appeal. In his order the First Appellate Authority (FAA) directed the PIO to furnish specific reply on the questions to the applicant within three weeks.


Since the PIO did not provide required information within the time frame, Sharma then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing before Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, the appellant stated that he had complained about an illegal building being constructed in October 2009 and submitted the RTI Application in 2009 hoping that MCD would take some action.


“In a modus operandi that has been perfected by certain MCD officers a reply was given that no plan has been approved and some inquiry will be done if there is any illegal construction in progress," he alleged.


The PIO defied the order of the FAA and did not provide the information. The information was brought by the PIO and given to the appellant before the Commission. The PIO stated that the illegal construction has been booked under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act (DMC Act).


When Mr Gandhi asked the PIO when the property was booked, he informed the Commission that it was booked on 13 May 2010 i.e. the day before the hearing. The appellant stated that the construction is going on and yet MCD officers had refused to stop it.


Mr Gandhi noted that it was evident that this could not have been possible without the actual collusion of various MCD officers. “The Commission only has its jurisdiction on the supply of information and the Commission comes to the conclusion that the delay in providing the information is clearly due to malafide intention and collusion between the various officers,” he said.


“The delay in providing the information, the defiance of the order of the FAA and booking the illegal construction just one day before the hearing before the Commission indicates prima facie a collusion by the officers to support the cause of illegal construction,” the CIC said.


While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi then issued a show-cause notice to PK Chauhan, JE, then Executive Engineer RS Gupta, Rajbir Kundu, AE, PR Meena, present EE since January 2010 and PIO AK Mittal, SE (during November 2009 to 8 February 2010) as to why penalty under Section 20(1) should not be imposed on them for colluding to deny information to the appellant.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000810/7724


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000810


Appellant                                            : Raj Kumar Sharma

                                                            New Delhi - 15


Respondent                                        : NC Sharma

                                                            Public Information Officer & SE

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            O/o Superintending Engineer,( Rohini -1)

                                                            Sector - 5, Rohini,

                                                           Delhi - 110085

1 decade ago
I have filed an RTI to MCD commissioner asking about couple of unauthorized shops in dwarka to which they replied 'matter belongs to E&E', is it justified answer? Are not they supposed to provide more information??? What should I do now?
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