Queries under RTI on encroachment of colony land had put the authorities in defensive. The behaviour of APIO, Urban Development , GNCTD, Delhi while defending his decision for denial of information to an RTI applicant during hearing was so adamant that Central Information Commission had to record that the conduct of APIO was serious violation of the RTI Act and that this kind of attitude and irresponsible answers before the Commission constitutes the obstruction of supply of information under the RTI Act. (Please note: If you have specific query regarding RTI, please post it at our forum here or if you want to request our team to help you in drafting the RTI, please go ahead and post it here.)
The learning for others is the questions that can be used to know about unauthorised colonies in your locality too, even though the authorities takes the plea that information is available on their website. If the information available on the website is not specific to your locality, then these set of questions shall come handy. Please read below the set of questions. The RTI applicant sought the complete details of unauthorized colonies on Government/DDA land in Rohini area with following queries:
Details of unauthorized colonies present in Rohini area.
The extent of encroachment in that area and the present status
The procedure for regularization and notifications from the Urban development authority
Who will collect the charges for regularisation
What are the efforts made to remove the encroachments
Obstruction of supply of information under the RTI Act
As per Section 19 (5) of the RTI Act, 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. In defending the denial, the APIO took the plea that details of unauthorized colonies, names and addresses and their locations are available on the website, though RTI applicant has specifically asked for details of unauthorized colonies present in Rohini area.
The Commission took a serious note of the adamant attitude of the APIO Mr. Ashwani Kumar, who could not answer about the procedure to be adopted by them to regularize the unauthorized colonies and to whom the regularization charges are to be paid. The APIO was not prepared to reply to this question except saying that the notification contains all the details, which is being disputed by the appellant. The APIO does not have any answer, except saying again and again that what all information is available with them, has been supplied to the appellant."
The Commission considers the APIO as highly irresponsible, as he was not having time to open the file and acquaint himself with the case, even though he was functioning as APIO for the past one year, as told by him. This conduct of APIO is serious violation of the RTI Act and he is personally directed to explain why maximum penalty cannot be imposed on him for this kind of attitude and irresponsible answers before the Commission, as it constitutes the obstruction of supply of information under the Act.
This article has been generated from the CIC decision available on the public website here in a case of Mr. Rahul Gupta Vs. Urban Development, GNCTD, case file number: CIC/AD/A/2013/001299SA dated 18062014. The purpose of this article is to generate interest in our readers about the RTI Act only and is not meant for opinion or factual correctness of the decision. You should read the decision and make the final views from the CIC website.
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