RTI Judgement Series: When the CVC does not follow its own timelines
Moneylife Digital Team 08 July 2013

Expressing concern, the CIC noted that if the CVC itself does not follow timelines for enquiries and investigations, other organisation would follow the bad example. This is the 129th 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, stated that if the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) itself does not follow time discipline, other organizations like the Vigilance Department are also likely to follow the bad example being set.

While giving this judgement on 31 July 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The appellant is understandably agitated about the fact that the combination of vigilance and enquiry setups in the country do not lead to any deterrent action for the wrong doing.”


Delhi resident Kamal Singh, on 2 December 2008, sought information about departmental inquiries and charge-sheets filed against officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) from the Public Information Officer (PIO). Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the reply given by the PIO...


1. How many officials of MCD have been ordered to be charge-sheeted during the last three years (from 11/01/2006 to 31/11/2008) for minor and major penalties? How many charge-sheets have actually been issued during the above period?

PIO's Reply: Total officials charge-sheeted w.e.f. 1 January 2006 to 30 November 2008 are 1,595. Out of these officials 1,350 officials were charge-sheeted for major penalties while 245 officials were charge-sheeted for minor penalties. In this period 1,472 charge-sheets were issued.


2. How many departmental inquiries were pending and what were the steps taken to ensure early conclusion of departmental inquiries?

PIO's Reply” This Para has already been referred to Director of Inquiries vide letter No. PIO(Vig.)/CRIA/HC/1493/2008/5853 dated 26 December 2008 for providing information directly.


3. Did the Vigilance Department of  MCD actually consider and process the defence statements/representations received from the charged officers and put up the same to  the concerned disciplinary authorities for their consideration for obtaining their specific orders on the same for accepting or rejecting them as required under the relevant rules i.e. DMC Services (Control and Appeal) Regulations, 1959? In how many cases charges during the last three years had been dropped after considering the defence statements? If there is no practice to consider the defence statements received from the charged. What are the reasons thereof?

PIO's Reply: Defence statements/representation of the charged officials along with entire record of the case id placed before the Disciplinary Authority for consideration and passing appropriate orders. In no case charges were dropped during the last three years after considering defence statements. Defence statements/representation are properly considered.


4. What were the steps taken by the Vigilance Department to avoid delay in taking action on defence statement and processing vigilance cases? Have any instruction been issued in this regard? If yes, kindly supply copies of the instructions. If not, what are the reasons for not issuing necessary instructions to the officers and staff of Vigilance Department?      

PIO's Reply: In this regard Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) instructions are being followed (Copy has been provided).


5. Are officers of the Vigilance Department including DOV and CVO conscious and alive to their responsibilities to dispose of the files and papers put up to them expeditiously to set the good examples of efficiency to the lower staff of vigilance department? How many files had been disposed of during the last three years by ADVOs, ADCDOV and COV and what was the time taken in respect of each file. Kindly give the relevant information.       

PIO's Reply: Yes, all the files and papers put up before CVO, DOV, ADC & ADOV's were disposed expeditiously taking necessary minimum time.


6. It has been seen that wrong charges have been framed against some officials of MCD due to carelessness on the part of concerned officials/ officers of the Vigilance Department. In how many such cases of framing wrong and factually incorrect charges, disciplinary action has been taken for dereliction of duty?

PIO's Reply: None.


7. What is the policy with regard to posting of staff and officers to Vigilance Department? Is there any tenure limit of posting in Vigilance Department? If yes, what is the maximum period of posting in Vigilance Department? Are steps taken to ensure that staff and officers do not overstay in Vigilance Department and develop any personal interest in staying in Vigilance Department? Give the number of such officers who had been in this department for more than five years.      

PIO's Reply: As per CVC instructions posting and transfer in Vigilance Department is required to be done with the approval of CVO. Four officers are continuing in Vigilance Department for more than five years.


Citing information received from the PIO as unsatisfactory and incomplete, Singh filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “In view of the fact that arose during the hearing of the case, PIO (Vigilance) is directed to inform the appellant within 15 days as to whether the CVC's instructions in question have been circulated or not. So far information regarding number of files disposed of by various officers of the department and time taken in respect of each file is concerned, the appellant is requested to inspect the relevant registers of various officers within 10 days as the information is bulky in nature which will divert the entire resources of the department, if collected...”


However, the PIO did not comply with the order passed by the FAA. Singh then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that Singh, the appellant was raising a fairly important issue and the information given by the PIO clearly shows that the CVC's instructions are not even circulated or known.


The PIO claimed, “...many times files are sent to CVCs for obtaining first stage advice or second advice which takes three to four months hence it is not possible to maintain any timelines.”


The CIC noted that the information was provided late to the appellant and the PIO claimed that this was due to the concerned officer having an illness in his family. Mr Gandhi warned the PIO that if the timelines are not observed penalties under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act will be imposed (against him).


Mr Gandhi said, “The Commission finds that whereas CVC has given timelines for enquiries and investigations it is apparent that these timelines are not followed, which is the main contention of the appellant.”


While allowing the appeal, the CIC said, “The respondent's statement only indicates that if CVC which issues these guidelines itself does not follow any time discipline, organizations like Vigilance Department are also likely to follow the bad example being set”.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001500/4335


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001500


Appellant                                           : Kamal Singh



Respondent                                       : AK Verma

                                                            Public Information Officer

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            Vigilance Department,

                                                            16, Rajpur Road, Civil Lines,


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