Imagine the dilemma of the CPIO! In one of very peculiar case, Director who was once a CPIO became an RTI applicant and demanded records of the document which he himself as Director did not hand over to next incumbent. The CPIO therefore replied the RTI query that “the records were not handed over by the then Director, who is the applicant in the present case, therefore, the information cannot be provided.” 🙂
The appellant was earlier Director in the Animal Husbandry Department. He was responsible for recruitment of a number of attendants in 2009-2010. He has since retired from service. The Department is contemplating registration of a criminal case against him for irregularities committed by him in the recruitment. Besides, he also submits that it is suspected that the appellant took away certain documents relating to the recruitment in question and, therefore, on the basis of incomplete records, it is not possible for PIO to provide information, as requested in the RTI application dated 12.4.2012. The Commission appreciate the dilemma of the CPIO. Even so, the CPIO is directed to give inspection of the available records to the appellant on a mutually convenient date and time. It is, however, clarified that he will not be provided copies of any documents at this juncture.”
The dilemma of the CPIO
During the hearing the FAA filed his written submissions before the Commission as follows:
- The appellant retired as Director of DAH&AW. During his period he made a recruitment of Attendant post in the year 2010. He has superannuated on 31.12.2010. He did not hand over the records related to the recruitment of Attendant post. Under the RTI he has submitted four applications of the same issue;
- The information sought by the appellant relates to certain materials of the recruitment to the post of Attendant in DAH&AW;
- The materials in question are under dispute, the reason being such materials were found untraceable in this Department for sometime and later the same was received by the Department by post from an anonymous sender. Hence, the genuineness of the received materials is being suspected. The information has been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned and a file was mooted to obtain a written approval to lodge a complaint with the Police so as to ascertain the genuineness of the received material since the same has to be produced before the Hon’ble Court for the litigations filed by some of the applicants of the recruitment. At present, the matter is under investigation with the Police Department based on the request given by this Department;
- Since the genuineness of the material is suspected and multiple litigations pending with the Court, the exposure of the same would likely affect the investigation process and may also affect the commitments made by the Department in the Court;
- The matter has been explained to the Commission during the hearing held on 20.11.2012 at New Delhi in respect of RTI application of the same appellant and once again explained to the Commission during the hearing held on 27.2.2013 at Puducherry in the presence of the appellant.
You may read the following earlier case law here: Can a Government Employee Ask Question under RTI Act 2005?