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sabynsaby

MTNL, Mumbai PIO reply has stumped me

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sabynsaby

I filed an RTI query with MTNL Mumbai to get records pertaining to an MTNL connection issued to a customer prior to 2000 – presently it appears that the phone connection has been permanently disabled/terminated. I indicated the information relates from prior to 2000 till date. My query included records such as the account opening form with supporting documents annexed to the application for the phone connection, date of installation of the connection, date of termination (if any) of the connection, dates of transfer of the said connection (if any) to other persons and/ or addresses. I also requested that if the information has been weeded out/ destroyed then to provide me with record retention schedule of requested information and standing guard file particulars indicating the information has been weeded out/ destroyed.

Now the MTNL PIO has replied as, “Information given by the concerned unit is given as - Regarding telephone no. XYZ, it is to inform you that no information is available as information pertaining to said period has been destroyed in 26/07/2005 flood. Also there is no record in FRS system”.

I am stumped now and don’t know if the records were genuinely destroyed in the Mumbai floods or if the PIO is using a convenient natural calamity to deny me information. I also googled to check if there is any news item indicating MTNL Mumbai records were destroyed and did not find any such single news item.

Is there any way for me to counter this smart reply from the PIO and get the information in case the PIO is lying as to destruction of information on account of Mumbai floods.

Edited by sabynsaby

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Prasad GLN

Go for First appeal stating that even if those original records were destroyed, there must have been attempts to restore atleast some records and seek such records.  File another RTI to same CPIO and seek information as follows:

Information solicited;

1)Please provide the data of records that were destroyed during floods 26-07-2005 and efforts made to restore such records and the outcome of such efforts as on day, with certified copies of those efforts.

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sabynsaby

Just a small clarification. If I were to ask for "data of records that were destroyed...." I fear that the PIO may reply that the information requested is too large and wouldl disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority". Often PIO's have taken this stand.

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Prasad GLN

The presumption is that it was already available as record in the form of index or file names in maximum 500 files and the CPIO has only to make a xerox copy to send it to you.  (there is no such denial that information requested is too large and would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority as the CPIO has to justify and also offer the inspection also.As known to me it is only in those cases where it is difficult to get it xeroxed of such records due to bad condition of the paper, risks involved in moving such record etc.,)  Remember, we have to proceed as per our request and requirement, and we should not adopt expecting that CPIO may take such a stand and we should avoid denial and frame a query suitable to CPIO AND AVOID  his denial

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sabynsaby

Your right that there is no such exemption for denying on grounds that information is too large and disproportionately diverts the resources but the flawed reasoning is adopted often by PIOs in many cases. However, I have been dogged in pursuing and have even filed a few second appeals and also a complaint. Thanks once more for enlightening me further as regards the indexation of files.

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sabynsaby

Thanks for enlightening me on the said RTI provisions.

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