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karira

Analysis of orders/decisions of new IC's in the CIC

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karira

Over yesterday and today, several orders/decisions of the new IC's have been uploaded on to the CIC website.

 

Here is a brief analysis and highlights of the orders. Please note, that these are still early days and the analysis is only based on those decisions which have been uploaded as of 2200 Hrs on 21 October 2008.

 

Hon'ble IC Satyananda Mishra:

 

1. in ALL orders uploaded, except TWO, matter remanded back to the FAA:

- Remanded back because FAA did not hear the case (even when matter is pending for 18 months in CIC)

- Remanded back to FAA because the FAA has not given proper attention while passing the order

- Remanded back to the FAA also when the FAA has rejected First Appeal because appellant did not pay the requisite fee for First Appeal

2. Since matters coming up before the Hon'ble IC are very old (some dated February 2007), he clearly mentions that the matter has been transferred to him after he took charge as IC.

3. Some notable excerpts:

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SM-15102008-11.pdf

(This is a order relating to disclosure of file notings and notes. There is some apparent typographical mistake in the dates - they vary from 2008 back to 2006 and fast forward to 2007)

I have scrutinized the various documents enclosed with the appeal. From these records, it appears that the First Appellant Authority has not heard the appeal preferred to him. Therefore, I remand this case to the First Appellate Authority to hear this case expeditiously and, certainly, within 15 working days from the date of receipt of this order and pass a reasoned order. While considering the first appeal, the First Appellate Authority must keep in mind the various pronouncements of this Commission on what constitutes an information as expressly defined in the Right to Information Act and not go by the instructions or advisory, if any, of the DOPT as it appears from the order of the CPIO.

(Readers will note that Hon'ble IC was the DoPT Secretary before assuming charge as Information Commissioner and DoPT has still not ammended its website regarding "file notings")

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SM-15102008-06.pdf

(Wide interpretation of Sec 7(4))

The Section 7(4) of the RTI Act provides that the CPIO should give assistance to those Applicants who are sensorily disabled, so that they can have access to the desired records. It is true that the Applicant is not sensorily disabled. It is also true that the Ordinance Factory, Kanpur in general and the CPIO in particular have already provided a lot of information contained in those two files concerning the Applicant’s case. Nevertheless, in view of the Applicant’s admission that he is not properly educated and that he can understand documents only with the help of outside assistance, I tend to interpret the expression ‘sensorily disabled’ more wildly to include illiteracy or inadequate education and, therefore, to be ground enough for grant of permission to use or get the help of an assistant for inspecting or accessing the records.

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SM-15102008-04.pdf

(Matter relating to DRDO - organisation covered under Sec 24. Not giving opportunity to appellant and respondent to come to CIC)

The Section 24 (1) clearly mandates that nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and

security organizations specified in the Second Schedule, being organizations established by the Central Government, provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violation shall not be excluded under this sub section. I find that the DRDO is included at Sl. No. 20 in the Second Schedule as an organization established by the Central Government. I also find that the information sought by the applicant is neither on any human rights violation nor expressly stated to be regarding any corrupt practice. Thus, I find the contention of the CPIO and the First Appellate Authority in denying the information on the ground of the DRDO’s inclusion in the Second Schedule a just decision. Since no purpose will be served in summoning the appellant and appellate authority or the CPIO and it would prevent infructuous public expenditure involved in the cost of travel, I tend to reject the appeal filed by the appellant.

 

Hon'ble IC Annapurna Dixit

 

1. Very frequent use of the phrase "lenient view taken" in the orders/decisions and therefore not levying penalty or not even issuing "show-cause notice"

2. Some notable excerpts:

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/AD-10102008-03.pdf

(Matter regarding disclosure of AIIMS question paper and AIIMS claiming IPR on those question papers)

After hearing the arguments presented by the Respondents and going through documents presented by them, the Commission holds that while normally there should be no reason for withholding question papers from the public, in this case the AIIMS is justified in not disclosing its question papers as it would affect the quality of Doctors going for specialization. The Commission is also convinced that no larger public interest is served by the disclosure of the question papers.

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/AD-03102008-03.pdf

(Not allowing disclosure of information if applicants query is phrased in a particular manner)

The Commission noted that information against points 1,2,3,5, 7 in the RTI request has already been provided to the Appellant and holds that the queries which are more in the nature of demanding explanations or clarifications (points 4, 11, 12, 13, 14. 15, 17, 19)need not be answered by the Public Authority since the RTI Act does not cast any obligation on the Public Authority to answer queries with prefixes such as ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’.

 

Hon'ble IC Shailesh Gandhi

 

1. Very dilligent in the time line of the RTI Process. All dates of application, PIO's reply, first appeal, etc. are clearly mentioned in the order.

2. Issues "show cause" notice for every violation of dates by the PIO

3. Does not show any favour to either PIO or to the applicant

4. No notable excerpts

 

Hon'ble IC M L Sharma

 

No orders uploaded, so no analysis possible.

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vijendra singh

Highest Quality present in the decisions of IC Gandhi must be adopted by all the ICs in India. I liked his skill & willingness to deliver unchallengable , as per rules ,unbiased , 100 % justified Decisions. God bless this Second Gandhi. I could never read such good CIC / SIC orders in past 3 years. I wish that the banking deptt also be allotted to this Gentleman ; so that I can also obtain a justified decision from the Highest RTI institution(CIC ). But perhaps it is Impossible in India. God bless me. Now all the ICs & the public authorities should learn how to become citizen friendly & rules-abiding. All the countrymen are very much happy today. Such a Gandhi may be Promoted to the chair of PM of India.

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whackpack

as i was going through the various judgements of the gujarat information commission, i felt that the GIC is too soft on the respondents. i did not come across any decisions where penalties were levied, or showcause notices were issued. strange, as no complainant would approach IC unless they are aggrieved, and though the respondent may not always be at fault, but to believe that the GIC is not biased is difficult.

 

has anybody done a analysis of the decisions of the Gujarat Information Commission? kindly share

 

best regards, whackpack.

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umapathi.s

Kariarji thanks for the analyis of the new IC's decisions. their quility of decision will affect the implementation and success of the RTI Act. However, recently my 22 appeals and compliants pending for more than one year came for hearing on 20th Feb-09 before the IC satyanand Mishara.I couldnot get the full justice and information that I have been seeking for more than a year. due to lack of time , he disposed the appeals and compalints hurriedly. he didn't impose any penalty on the CPIO in seven deserving cases, didnt take notice of my submission of providing incomplete and misleading information by the CPIO in many cases despite the clear documentary evidences produced. in one case there was a non-complaince of CIC orders ,even in this case too, the IC didnt take anything serioulsy but reordered to provide the same information again. though the decision was made on 20 th Feb-09, it is still not uploaded in the website nor copy was sent to me by post till date.After waiting for months together, if decision are made in hurry and inconsistent with RTI provisions, it may hamper the effectiveness of the RTI Act. with Regards

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jagdishbhai Makwana

Yes. You analysis is cent per cent. SIC is very lenient towards Public Authorities. The lenincy made officials more reluctant and as a result, it has become very difficult to get the information from Gujarat state authorities timely as well as hessle free.

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nk agarwal

Decisions of SIC Uttarakhand can be eye opener on RTI issues and worth emulating.

I wish we have more of such SICs/ICs.

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changethechangers

Hon'ble Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi

 

1. Very dilligent in the time line of the RTI Process. All dates of application, Public Information Officer's reply, first appeal, etc. are clearly mentioned in the order.

2. Issues "show cause" notice for every violation of dates by the Public Information Officer

3. Does not show any favour to either Public Information Officer or to the applicant

4. No notable excerpts

 

 

With passage of time, the position has changed. Hon'ble Sh Gandhi, perhaps in his zeal to speed the disposal of appeals/complaints, appears to be overlooking the quality or his orders.

1. Sometimes date of RTI application in respect of which order is being made, is given incorrectly. Sometimes, hearing is conducted in respect of an RTI application for which no notice has been issued. Sometimes, information is ordered to be given which has never been sought in the RTI application.

2. He invariably issues Show Cause Notice for every violation. But what happens to those notices, nobody knows. Despite RTI application for the purpose, his Dy. Registrar does not provide copies of orders where penalty has not been imposed after show cause notice. Even list of undisposed SCNs is not provided.

3. Third observation is still true or not, can be ascertained only if copies of orders with no penalty/list of unidsposed SCNs is analysed.

4. Comparison cannot be done among unequals. Other ICs perform with the staff provided by the government. IC(SG) hires private persons paid by him (or NGOs) for which no sanction has been given by the government (in effect, violating government rules).

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jetley

I wholeheartedly agree. An up-to-date analysis of decisions of Gujarat Information Commission, particularly decisions of the last 2 years, is seriously required.

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MOHANDAS
With passage of time, the position has changed. Hon'ble Sh Gandhi, perhaps in his zeal to speed the disposal of appeals/complaints, appears to be overlooking the quality or his orders.

1. Sometimes date of RTI application in respect of which order is being made, is given incorrectly. Sometimes, hearing is conducted in respect of an RTI application for which no notice has been issued. Sometimes, information is ordered to be given which has never been sought in the RTI application.

2. He invariably issues Show Cause Notice for every violation. But what happens to those notices, nobody knows. Despite RTI application for the purpose, his Dy. Registrar does not provide copies of orders where penalty has not been imposed after show cause notice. Even list of undisposed SCNs is not provided.

3. Third observation is still true or not, can be ascertained only if copies of orders with no penalty/list of unidsposed SCNs is analysed.

4. Comparison cannot be done among unequals. Other ICs perform with the staff provided by the government. IC(SG) hires private persons paid by him (or NGOs) for which no sanction has been given by the government (in effect, violating government rules).

 

 

 

There are inconsistencies in the decisions of the different Hon'ble I.Cs. If we compare the decision of Hon'ble I.C Annapurna Dixit in ref. to case No. 000937 AD & 000435, it is evident different para meters are adopted in disclosing the marks/OMR in examinations conducted by the P.As.

 

I am aware that there is no straight jacket formula to be adopted in cases of similar nature. However, keeping in view of the full bench decision in such matters, it will be in the fairness of things, if Hon'ble I.Cs maintain consistencies while delivering rulings of similar nature of cases.

 

Similarly, in so many cases inspite of clear cut direction from the Hon'ble ICs, CPIOs posted in PSUs and other units are flouting the decisions of the Commission, which should be viewed very seriously and in such cases penalty may be imposed in order to curb such laxity on the part of the CPIOs/P.As keeping the different provisions of the RTI Act 2005 in its right perspective. This is a humble suggestion from a Forum member.

 

MOHANDAS

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amrita

Well said Mohandas.

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MOHANDAS

Dear Kariraji

 

Such types of analysis of the different decisons of the Hon'ble I.Cs may kindly be deliberated in the forum. Such deliberation will help in adjudging the quality of the ruling of different Hon'ble I.Cs. I am thankful to the forum members in posting their valuable suggestions after going through the same.

 

MOHANDAS.

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