RTI Judgement Series: PIO wilfully delayed giving information despite orders from FAA
Moneylife Digital Team 14 May 2013

The PIO at GNCTD did not give information despite orders from the FAA. The CIC while issuing a show-cause notice to him directed the divisional commissioner to enquire into this serious fraud. This is the 91st 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 divisional commissioner of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to fix the responsibility over the serious fraud committed by the Public Information Officer (PIO) by not supplying information inspite orders from the First Appellate Authority (FAA). 
 
While giving this judgement on 23 March 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The PIO did not even make any attempt to get any information in response to the order of the First Appellate Authority. It appears that the PIO was wilfully delaying giving the information.”
 
New Delhi resident Surendra Mohan Jalota, on 9 June 2008, sought information about action taken report on appeal no4/DCW/05 from the PIO of GNCTD under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information he sought and reply given by the PIO...
 
1. Action taken by the SDM/RA (PB) against the responsible officials/private persons who committed cuttings/overwriting/ tempering in the consolidation records, etc.  As per the order of KK Dahiya, ADM (W SW) Capashera, New Delhi in appeal No47/DCW/05 vide order dated 20 November 2007.
2. Copy of the action taken report sent to Deputy Commissioner, West by the S.D.M. (RA-PB) in the light of order dated 20 November 2007 in Appeal No. 47/DCW/05.
 
PIO's reply: With reference to your application received in this office on dated 9 June 2008 regarding supply of information under RTI Act, 2005, the requisite information submitted by Sub Divisional Magistrate (Punjabi Bagh) is as under:
That order/appeal No. 47/DCW/05 dated 20 November 2007 issued by ADM (SW) KK Dahiya has not been received.
 
Not satisfied with the reply, Jalota filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA), said, “Perusal of this reply shows that it has been stated that the order No47/DCW/05 dated 20 November 2007 on which action taken report was requested, had not been received in the office of the SDM (Punjabi Bagh). A copy of the order No. 47/DCW/05 dated 20/11/2007 was obtained from the appellant and is enclosed with this order with the direction to the PIO to send an action taken report to the appellant within 30 days.  PIO may also call for an explanation from the officials concerned who are responsible for delaying the information which could not be supplied with in the time prescribed under RTI Act.”
 
After not receiving any reply from the PIO despite order from the FAA, the appellant (Jalota) approached the CIC with his second appeal.
 
During the hearing, the Commission noted that the FAA Satish Mathur had given an order to give the action taken report on a report by KK Dahiya ADM(SW). “It is clear that no action was taken on this and the appellant was trying to draw the attention of the public authority to this collusive conspiracy. The PIO shows how no action was taken on taking any action even after the order of the First Appellate Authority, nor was any information provided to the appellant,” the CIC noted.
 
Mr Gandhi, the then CIC said, the PIO did not even make any attempt to get any information in response to the order of the First Appellate Authority. “He first claimed to have sent a letter to SDM (PB) asking about the matter on 3 October 2008. Whereas the First appellate authority had asked for the action taken report to be supplied within 30 days the PIO wrote the first letter about this after over 30 days,” the Commission said.
 
While allowing the appeal, the CIC directed JK Dadoo, divisional commissioner of GNCTD to enquire into this matter and give his report to the Commission fixing responsibility for the inaction over a serious fraud of this nature. The Divisional Commissioner will submit his report to the Commission before 30 April 2009, the CIC said.
 
Since the PIO was found of wilfully delaying giving the information and not following orders issued by the FAA, the Commission issued a show-cause notice to him. “From the facts before the Commission it is apparent that the PIO 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. The First Appellate Authority has clearly ordered the information to be given. It appears that the PIO's  actions attract the penal provisions of Section 20 (1),” Mr Gandhi said in his order.
 
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
 
Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2008/00175/2373
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2008/00175/
 
Appellant : Surendra Mohan Jalota,  New Delhi-110014   
 
Respondent 1 : ADM & PIO,  Govt. of NCT of Delhi,  Office of the Deputy Commissioner
                              (West) Rampura,  Old Middle School Complex, Rampura, Delhi-110035 
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