RTI Judgement Series: PIO wrongly denied information claiming it is over 20 years old
Moneylife Digital Team 19 July 2013

The CIC said after the lapse of twenty years, exemptions provided in the RTI Act under Section 8 (1) (a), (c) and (i) apply, and other seven exemptions will not apply. This is the 137th 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) and joint assessor and collector in the Assessment and collection department at Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), to provide property numbers in Mohalla Doonger Shahadra to the appellant.


While giving this judgement on 4 February 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The PIO has interpreted Section 8(3) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act completely opposite to what it means. After the lapse of twenty years exemptions provided in Section 8 (1) (a), (c) and (i) apply, and the other seven exemptions will not apply.”


New Delhi resident Baldev Raj, on 30 July 2009, sought from the PIO a list of municipal numbers of Mohalla Doonger Shahadra before 1951 and wanted to know if new numbers were allotted by municipal committee after 1951.


The PIO did not furnish the information stating, "The information is more than 20 yrs old which attracts section 8(3) of RTI Act, 2005".


Raj, the applicant, filed his first appeal. In its order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA), directed the PIO to collect the information from Town Planning officer & provide to the appellant within 30 days. 


However, the PIO did not furnish the information. Raj then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that after the order of the FAA, the PIO on 30 November 2009 informed the appellant that the information sought by him is not available with Town Planning Department either.


The Bench said, "The PIO has wrongly denied information on the ground that it is over 20 years old. The PIO has interpreted Section 8(3) completely opposite to what it means."


Section 8(3) of the RTI Act states...

"Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section:"


Mr Gandhi said, after the lapse of twenty years exemptions provided in Section 8 (1) (a), (c) and (i) apply, and the other seven exemptions will not apply.


Subsequently after the FAA's order, the Town Planning Department has stated that MCD had not allotted numbers to properties. The appellant insisted that MCD must allot numbers to all properties but the PIO stated that MCD does not have the information on property numbers. 


While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi directed the PIO to give the property numbers to Raj before 28 February 2010. If these (numbers) are not on records anywhere in MCD, then the PIO will state it in the reply, the CIC said.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/003168/6698


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/003168


Appellant                                            : Baldev Raj

                                                                New Delhi-110006


Respondent                                         : SC Yadav

                                                               PIO & Joint Assessor and Collector

                                                               Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                               Assessment and Collection Department (HQ)

                                                              Property tax building, Ring Road,

                                                              Lajpat Nagar-III,

                                                              New Delhi-110024

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