In a recent decision, Central Information Commission directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) to provide certified copy of the Shadow file under RTI. This issue was discussed in the discussions here “Shadow files in Government“. As per the Manual of Office Procedure of Government of India: “If the reference seeks an opinion, ruling-or concurrence of the receiving Department and requires detailed examination, such examination will normally be done separately and only the officer responsible for commenting upon the reference will record the final views on the file. This separate examination can be done through routine notes or on what is commonly known as “shadow files“‘ which are opened subject wise in the receiving department.”
In the discussion it was raised that “The Main file is available under RTI, but the shadow file is not revealed. Has anybody got the copies of the shadow file under RTI? If one gets to access the shadow file, which generally contains a lot more information than what main file would contain, the level of transparency shall improve…” Read more ›
When PIO looses certain records CIC has directed the authorities to come up with policy and action in alternative. Filing of FIR is no solution to missing files. When What will be alternative plan ? Who will be responsible for keeping record ? What action will be initiated to fix responsibility and consequences thereof ?
In what appears to be deviation to set procedure of filing First Information Report (FIR) with Police for missing or lost record, Central Information Commission has given a new solution. If you have any question regarding Right to Information, you can post it at our forum here! You can access our all content from mobile phone by using our top Android App or iOS App for Apple.
If this action plan is put into place, it will become much easier in Government Departments to fix responsibility and also evolve strategies to make a backup of the files. In these times when each Government Department (Central Ministries) are being asked to shift to eOffice application in a mission mode project, the data loss will be minimised once all records are digitised. Read more ›
In a significant decision Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that unless proved that record was destroyed as per the prescribed rules of destruction/ retention policy, it is deemed that record continues to be held by public authority. The decision has been posted at out wiki Segment, for those who want to use it as a reference. You can visit out wiki article here: Missing Files under RTI Act.
Claim of file missing or not traceable has no legality as it is not recognized as exception by RTI Act. By practice ‘missing file’ cannot be read into as exception in addition to exceptions prescribed by RTI Act. It amounts to breach of Public Records Act, 1993 and punishable with imprisonment up to a term of five years or with fine or both.
Public Authority has a duty to initiate action for this kind of loss of public record, in the form of ‘not traceable’ or ‘missing’. The Public Authority also has a duty to designate an officer as Records Officer and protect the records. A thorough search for the file, inquiry to find out public servant responsible, disciplinary action and action under Public Records Act, reconstruction of alternative file, relief to the person affected by the loss of file are the basic actions the Public Authority is legitimately expected to perform. Read more ›