The CIC issued a show cause notice to erstwhile PIO for not replying within 30 days as mandated under the RTI Act and also for not following orders of FAA. This is the 192nd in a series of important RTI judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Food Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), to provide complete information to the appellant about his ration card. The Bench also issued a show cause notice to erstwhile PIO for not replying within 30 days as mandated under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and also for not following orders of First Appellate Authority (FAA).
While giving the judgement on 17 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, "From the facts before the Bench it is apparent that the PIO, KD Trehan is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days. He has further refused to obey the orders of his superior officer, which raises a reasonable doubt that the denial of information may also be malafide."
Delhi resident, Ali Mohammad Saifi, on 2 April 2009, sought from the PIO information regarding his application for ration card. Here is the information he sought...
1. Did Appellant mention House in the IE column of his application form?
2. Appellant requested for photocopy of application form.
3. Has the order to give 12 Kg wheat instead of whole been given and when?
4. Appellant requested for inspecting receipts from November 2008 to March 2009. Why are 12kg of sugar and 5kg of rice given?
The reply provided by the PIO was not enclosed with the appeal to the CIC.
Ali Mohammad Saifi then approached the FAA with his first appeal stating that he did not receive any information from the PIO.
In his order, the FAA directed the PIO to requisite information to the RTI application dated 2 April 2009. Regarding non-receipt of 25 kgs of ration, it was explained by the PIO, that there was some clerical error. The FAA also ordered the PIO to provide the correct information within 15 days.
However, the appellant did not receive any information from the PIO, despite order from the FAA.
Ali Mohammad Saifi then filed his second appeal before the CIC.
During the hearing before Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, the PIO stated the RTI application was not received by him. However, the Bench noted that the appellant had included the receipt no: ED844602289IN issued by Speed Post on 2 April 2009. It is also significant that no such plea of non-receipt of the RTI application has been recorded in the order of FAA, Mr Gandhi observed.
The PIO OP Gupta, who was present during the hearing, stated that he had joined only recently and the person responsible for the delay was KD Trehan (assistant commissioner, East Zone and PIO).
The PIO did not show any evidence that the information had been provided to Saifi. However, he showed documents stating that on 9 September 2009, the grievance of the appellant was resolved.
Saifi, in his second appeal had alleged that a bribe of Rs1,000 was demanded by officials of the public authority to correct mistakes in the name mentioned in his ration card. "The PIO appears to be showing the Commission that the bribe may not have been taken but no information has been given," Mr Gandhi noted.
While allowing the appeal, the Bench directed the PIO to provide complete information to Saifi before 30 September 2009.
Mr Gandhi said, "From the facts before the Commission it is apparent that the PIO, KD Trehan is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act. He has further refused to obey the orders of his superior officer, which raises a reasonable doubt that the denial of information may also be malafide. It appears that the PIO's actions attract the penal provisions of Section 20 (1)."
The Bench then issued a show cause notice to Trehan asking him to make a written submission showing cause why penalty should not be imposed on him.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001812/4832
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001812
Appellant : Ali Mohd. Saifi,
Respondent : PIO & Asst. Commissioner (East),
Food Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department,
DDA Shopping Complex,
Dayanand Vihar, Delhi-110092
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