RTI Judgement Series: When a PIO claimed that the file was stolen or lost
Moneylife Digital Team 02 April 2013

The CIC directed the PIO to file a police complaint and give a copy of the complaint and certificate from the additional commissioner certifying that this file with the demand draft has been stolen or lost. This is the 68th 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 executive engineer of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide information, including copy of police complaint, statements and certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) about the stolen or lost file.


While giving this important judgement on 6 October 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The PIO will give the information consisting of the police complaint, statement of JE/AE and a certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) as described above to the appellant and the Commission before 25 October 2009.”


New Delhi resident Satya Prakash Bagaria, on 20 December 2008, sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the executive engineer of MCD. He sought information about his payment of security amount for laying telecom ducts, which was given to his company by Tata Teleservices. Here is the information she sought and the reply provided by the PIO...


A. Reason for non-refund of security deposit.

PIO's Reply: The question was in the form of query.


B. Reason for harassment of the appellant.    

PIO's Reply: As above.


C. Details of proposed actions which was to be taken by MCD against its errant officials with date.

PIO's Reply: As above.


D. Request to fix date and time to refund the security amount with interest thereon from the date of request for refund of the same was made.

PIO's Reply: The appellant is requested to contact the office any working day between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm to sort out the issue. The office address for the had been given i.e O/o Ex. Engineer (M)-I, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Arjun Marg, Defence Colony, New Delhi - 110024.


E. Name and designation posts of all the MCD employees who were responsible and accountable in the matter of the refund of the security deposit.       

PIO's Reply: The refund of bank guarantee deposited was dealt by the concerned JE/AE of the area.


Bagaria citing non-receipt of complete information from the PIO, then filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order, directed the PIO to give information related with query no D within one month.


Despite directions from the FAA, Bagaria claimed that the PIO provided evasive and misleading information. He then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During a hearing before the Commission, the PIO stated that the file relating to this matter had been stolen or lost and hence he was unable to give any information.


Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that Bagaria had given a demand draft of Rs98,175 to MCD, out of which Rs46,750 was given as refundable security deposit. Bagaria was not refunded the deposit and therefore sought information regarding it through the RTI.


The PIO claimed that the entire file and the draft of Rs98,175 appeared to have been stolen/ lost and therefore MCD was not refunding Rs46,750 to the appellant (Bagaria).


Mr Gandhi then directed the PIO to file a police complaint for theft/loss of the said file with the demand draft mentioning the names of the officers who handled the file before 20 October 2009. “The PIO will also obtain a certificate from additional commissioner (engineering) certifying that this file with the draft has been stolen/lost. The PIO will also obtain a statement about this from the JE/AE. The PIO will also certify that the draft has not been enchased by the MCD,” the CIC said.


There was one more complaint registered before the Commission which was related to the same matter. Bagaria filed his second appeal on 13 August 2009.


The Commission noted that the receipt for the RTI fees was made in the name of Shyam Bhatnagar and the PIO sent a reply by speed post on 27 January 2009. In view of this no penal proceeding were initiated, the CIC said.


While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, directed the PIO to give information consisting of the police complaint, statement of JE/AE and a certificate from the additional commissioner (engineering) to Bagaria before 25 October 2009.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001979/5031


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001979


Appellant                                            : Satya Prakash Bagaria

                                                            New Delhi - 110019


Respondent                                        : SC Yadav

                                                            APIO & Executive Engineer

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            O/o the Executive Engineer (M)-I

                                                            Central Zone, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi

1 decade ago
One PIO answered to a RTI query - 'NOT AVAILABLE" (without providing the details why it was not available)

1. Can his reply be construed as " REFUSED".
2 Can a PIO reply to a RTI application - "NOT AVAILBE" without providing the details why it was not available.

Kindly give me a reply
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