The Assessment and Collector Department of New Delhi was found conducting investigation of an individual's property file for over two years. This is 165th 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 Public Information Officer of Assessment and Collector Department (ACD) at New Delhi to provide information about progress of an investigation that was going on for over two years along with the names of officers and file notings.
While giving this judgement on 18 June 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It is a farce in the name of vigilance investigation if it takes two years to investigate into the case of a missing file. Greater incompetence is difficult to imagine.”
Delhi resident Zameer Ahmed Zamlana, on 29 December 2010, sought from the PIO of ACD information about his property file stolen or lost in Sadar Pahar Ganj Zone in Delhi. Here is the information he sought and the reply provide by the PIO under the RTI Act...
1. Inform about the vigilance enquiry, name and designation of the enquiry officer in the case of missing file of property no. 1093-94, Mohalla Kishan Gunj, Teliwara, Delhi.
2. It is requested that this RTI Application be transferred to the concerned PIO as per the provisions of the RTI act to give proper and timely information.
PIO's Reply- With the respect to the RTI application received, it is informed that the appellant has not informed date of any complaint in the matter. Moreover, as per records, no record is available with respect of any enquiry on the above cited subject matter and hence information sought for cannot be supplied.
Claiming the PIO's reply as misleading, Zamlana, the appellant, filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA), while dismissing the appeal said that complete information has been already provided to the appellant.
Not satisfied with the order of FAA and citing continuous misleading and self-contradictory information being provided by the PIO, the appellant approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that Zamlana's property file was reported to have been stolen or lost in Sadar Pahar Ganj Zone. On 22 May 2009, the SP Zone wrote to the A&C (HQ) Vigilance Cell to conduct an investigation into this and the appellant was seeking the report of the investigation.
The PIO stated that in the two years that have elapsed, the investigation is continuing in slow motion and the investigation is not completed as yet.
While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, directed the PIO to provide the progress of the investigation since the letter was received from SP Zone. "The PIO will give dates on which various actions were taken names of officers who were carrying out the investigation and file notings if any. The PIO will also furnish to the Appellant whatever reports have been produced by this investigation. To take a plea that any investigation could be impeded by giving the information would be a mockery since it appears that the process of investigation itself appears to be designed to be impeded," the Bench said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/001175/12941
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/001175
Appellant : Zameer Ahmed Zamlana,
Delhi - 110006
Respondent : Anil Agnihotri
PIO & Dy. A & C,
Property Tax Building,
Assessment and Collector Department (HQ),
Ring Road, Lajpat nagar-III,
New Delhi 110024
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