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Section 19: Appeal
(1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub- section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority:
Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.
(2) Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.
(3) A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission:
Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.
(4) If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to that third party.
(5) In any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, who denied the request.
(6) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be disposed of within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing.
(7) The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.
(8) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to—
(a) require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including—
(i) by providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;
(ii) by appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be;
(iii) by publishing certain information or categories of information;
(iv) by making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records;
(v) by enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials;
(vi) by providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4;
(b) require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered;
© impose any of the penalties provided under this Act;
(d) reject the application.
(9) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to the complainant and the public authority.
(10) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed.
Mr. Himanshu J. Mehta Vs Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Ahmedabad.
Appeal No. 111/ICPB/2006 In the matter of Right to Information Act, 2005 – Section 19.
Appellant: Mr. Himanshu J. Mehta
Public authority: Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Ahmedabad. Sh. S.S.Nair - CPIO Regional Provident Fund Commissioner – Appellate Authority.
FACTS: The appellant vide his communication dated 21.12.2005 addressed to the CPIO had sought the following information, followed by first appeal dated 23.2.2006 to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner : i. Allotment of Provident Fund Code No.GJ/28322 allotted to M/s Tectona Soft Solution (Pvt) Ltd. ii. Copy of the Application submitted by M/s Tectona Soft Solution (Pvt) Ltd. iii. Copy of the Notification of the Provident Fund Commissioner applying the provisions of the Act. iv. Copy of the Letter of Authority used by Mahesh Shah to appear before the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner in proceedings initiated u/s 7A of the Employees Provident Fund & Misc. Provisions Act. v. Copy of the proceedings which have been attended by Mahesh Shah on behalf of the company M/s. Tectona Soft Solution (Pvt) Ltd. By a letter dated 7.4.2006, the Public Authority informed the appellant that hearing in the above matter has been scheduled on 21.4.2006 during which the documents sought for by the appellant could be handed over. The appellant filed an appeal before the AA on 17.4.2006. Since he did not get any reply from AA, he filed the present appeal. Comments were called for from CPIO. Pointing out that proceedings had been initiated against M/S Tectona Soft Solution Pvt. Ltd. under the provisions of the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act which is pending has contended that the matter is pending before a quasi judicial authority. It has also been stated in the comments that the appellant has already been advised that whatever documents had been sought for would be furnished to him during the proceedings but no body has so far appeared on behalf of the establishment. In his elaborate rejoinder, the appellant has contended that the provisions of EPF was not applicable at all to the establishment and has sought for directions to the CPIO to furnish the information asked for by the appellant.
DECISIONI find from the reply of the CPIO that he has not taken shelter under any of the exemptions provided under Section 8 of the Act but has only informed the appellant that the documents could be handed over during the course of the hearing. Since the appellant has claimed himself to be the advocate for M/S Tectona Soft Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, on his producing an authority from the said company, the CPIO will furnish all the information sought for by the appellant within 15 days from the receipt of the authority from the company as I find that the information sought for is not exempt under any of the provisions of Section 8 of the Act. In so far as the contention of the appellant in his rejoinder that EPF Act is not applicable to the company, this Commission has no powers to enquire into such matters.