In the minutes of meeting held on 22 July 2008, the CIC has decided to insert a new clause in the CIC (Management) Regulations 2007 regarding "special reference to remanding the cases to the Appellate Authority of the Public Authorities."
No further clarification or explanation is available.
members are requested to watch for further developments in view of a large number of CIC decisions remanding the matter back to the FAA with the words "Since the First Appellate Authority has not considered the matter.....it is remanded back to the First Appellate Authority."
3. Commission discussed the provisions of the Act with special reference to
remanding the cases to the Appellate Authority of the Public Authorities. It
directed that a clause to this effect may be inserted in CIC (Management.)
I have addressed following letter to Gujarat Info. Com as a feed back and suggestion. Members comments are invited:
Date: 12-10-2010 by email
State Chief Information Commissioner,
Gujarat Information Commission,
Bureau of Eco and Statistics Bldg, 1st floor
Sector 18, Gandhinagar, Gujarat 382018
Subject: Remanding Appeals / Complaints--Suggestion
On perusal of recent decisions of the Hon’ble Commission I have witnessed a trend in large number of cases, where by second appeals or complaints are remanded back to First Appellate Authorities [FAAs], even when appellants had filed first appeals and waited for at least 30 or 45 days + 10 days [both side postal time], before preferring second appeals or complaints. While remanding, explanation of FAAs is not sought for not having decided first appeal within stipulated time. Some of the recent decisions are:
1. Appeal No. 1098/2010-11 decided on 15-07-2010
2. Appeal No. 1181/2010-11 decided on 20-07-2010
3. Appeal No. 1240/2008-09 decided on 16-08-2010
4. Appeal No. 1284/2010-11 decided on 30-07-2010
Under such circumstances, FAAs will be encouraged not to decide on first appeal and thus compel appellants to file second appeals or complaints, since FAAs know that Hon’ble Commission will at the most remand back to FAAs only, after 3 to 6 months, without fixing accountability for not performing their duties under the Act. In addition to this, appellants are put to inconvenience, expenses, visits, frustration and wastage of time and money in approaching Hon’ble Commission and again to FAAs. This style pampers ego of FAAs and dignity of common men is lowered down in a democratic country. Appellants will once again be required to approach Hon’ble Commission if they are not satisfied with decisions of FAAs. This amounts to merry-go-round [pillar to post] bureaucratic procedure well known in India, which is antithetical to letter and spirit of RTI. This procedure not only delays supply of information and causes hardship to appellants, it also increases avoidable work load of already overburdened Hon’ble Commission.
I am aware that decisions of CIC are not legally bound on SICs, but can act as a guide and may lead to best practices worth emulation by SICs. I therefore append below details of few recent decisions of CIC against non-performing FAAs:
1. No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001352/8407 dated 05-07-2010
2. No.CIC/SG/A/2010/000085/6895Adjunct dated 05-07-2010
3. No. CIC/AT/A/2008/00290 dated 17-07-2008
4. No.CIC/AD/A/2010/000952 dated August 18, 2010
While I respect decisions of Hon’ble GIC, which has to its credit many landmark and path breaking decisions in the past, I humbly suggest that time has come when at least FAAs’ explanation should be sought for dereliction of duties enjoined under RTI Act, while remanding appeals/complaints as is being followed by CIC. Hon’ble Commission may recommend disciplinary action in cases of bluntant transgression of RTI Act by FAAs. Two-three sentences in decision order will make FAAs responsible. This will have positive and cascading effect on attitude of FAAs, who must be studying trend in decisions of Hon’ble Commission. This will reduce congestion at GIC, reduce time and cost for appellants and will infuse sense of accountability in FAAs, at least for RTI.
I am sure yourgoodselves will take my suggestion in a positive manner for the benefit of information seekers of this State.
J. P. Shah