RTI Judgement Series: The game of passing the paper played in MCD by various officers
Moneylife Digital Team 17 June 2013

The RTI application mindlessly travelled in the hands of over dozen officers. None of them added any value but only added to the cost of his salary to the public and hindered the process of giving the information, the CIC said. This is the 114th 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) at the office of superintending engineer in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide the information to the appellant before 30 September 2009.


While giving this judgement on 15 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, “The Commission is deeply distressed at this passing the paper game that is played in the MCD by various officers. According to the statements offered before the Commission, the RTI application mindlessly travelled in the hands of over dozen officers none of who adds any value but only adds the cost of his salary to public and hinders the process of giving the information.”


Delhi resident Surinder Puri, from the Public Grievance and Welfare Society, on 7 March 2009, sought information about the works executed and being executed under the supervision of junior engineer (JE) Ravi in MCD from the Public Information Officer (PIO). Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act...


Information regarding works executed and being executed under supervision of JE Ravi posted in Division no. III in ward no. 73, SPZ, MCD in financial year 2008-2009.

  1. The estimated and awarded costs of works in question.
  2. Bill of quantity/Schedule of quantities of works in question
  3. Copies of detailed drawing and cross sections pertaining to works in question.
  4. Copies of running A/c Bills and final bills if any pertaining to the works.
  5. Copy of measurement books pertaining to the works
  6. Copy of revised estimates if any pertaining to works in question.
  7.  Copy of site order books pertaining to works in question.


In his reply, the PIO stated that the required information/records were voluminous/bulky hence it would take time to prepare/provide the same. He further requested the appellant to contact in the office of the PIO on any working day, within three days of receiving of the PIO’s reply. He further stated that if the appellant desires to take photocopy of the documents, he would be provided.


Citing non-receipt of information from the PIO within the stipulated time, Puri, the appellant, filed his first appeal. In his order on 1 May 2009, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) directed the PIO to provide the information available on record to Puri within 10 working days.


Puri, then approached the Commission, stating unfair disposal of his appeal by the FAA.


During the hearing before the Commission, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that the RTI application filed by Puri on 7 March 2009 was forwarded like a ‘football’ to five officers before reaching to the PIO of SP Zone on 23rd March. Even then it was passed to four officers before finally reaching the deemed PIO Sube Pal on 30th March, who passed on the application to JE Ravi Kumar. For next 15 days Ravi Kumar kept the papers with him and then the replied that the information sought by the appellant (Puri) was very bulky and therefore he must visit the office of MCD.


The list of works finally was given to the appellant on 13 September 2009 by Speed Post and he has ticked the items for which he wanted the information. Ravi Kumar, the JE promised that he will provide the complete information to the appellant before 30 September 2009.


Mr Gandhi, said, “The Commission is deeply distressed at this passing the paper game that is played in the MCD by various officers. The Commission had brought this to the notice of the Municipal Commissioner about six months back when the Commissioner had personally ensured the Information Commissioner that this mindless passing the paper game would stop. This has not happened and the Commission directs the Municipal Commissioner of MCD to bring about a change in this designed inefficiency.”


“The Commission expects reply on this matter from Municipal Commissioner before 30 September 2009. If no satisfactory answer is received the Commission will consider awarding compensation to RTI applicants who are harassed and made to suffer for this designed inefficiency of Municipal Corporation of Delhi,” Mr Gandhi said in his order.


While allowing the appeal, the CIC said the PIO would provide the information to Puri before 30 September 2009.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001785/4815


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001785



Appellant                                            : Surinder Puri

                                                               Public Grievance and Welfare Society

                                                                Delhi - 110007


Respondent                                        : Public Information Officer

                                                               Superintending Engineer

                                                              Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                               O/o the Superintending Engineer

                                                               Sadar Pahar Ganj Zone, Idgah,

                                                               Delhi - 110006

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