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  1. According to Central Information Commission if you or your respondent authority don't press for your case either ways before them, the commission shall not be able to find any fruitful purpose in proceeding in the case and the case shall be liable to be dismissed. (If You have questions relating to RTI, kindly post at our forum here!) The Commission have given due notice, but neither complainant nor the respondents appeared before the Commission to press their cases. In view of this, the Commission felt that no fruitful purpose would be served by proceeding further in such cases. As such the Commission finds that neither parties are interested to press their cases. As such the Commission is of the considered view that it is a fit case to be dismissed. You shall lose if you don't press your appeal Only recently had the commission passed a strong judgement against First Appellate Authority (FAA) when the FAA passed the order stating that because the RTI Applicant did not appear, it is assumed that RTI applicant has nothing to say and thus the appeal is disposed of. CIC recorded that "it is the duty of the FAA to consider the written appeal of the appellant even if he is not present on the date of hearing and decide on the basis of the material before him whether the appellant is present or not". Shri K L Goyal has asked information on 5 points to the PIO, Tata Consultancy Services. PIO, vide its response had denied the information by stating that RTI Act is not applicable to them.The case is available here! File No. CIC/SS/C/2011/00564/KY dated 16.06.2014 This article has been written by taking the CIC decision uploaded over their pubic website, and is only meant for RTI awareness amongst our readers. If you have anything to add to this story, kindly post it over comments below.
  2. Central Information Commission issued a show cause notice to Public Information Officer of Consumer Affairs Department, GNCTD for not appearing for the hearing and authorizing a junior official who is not aware of the case to appear and thereby obstructing the supply of information. (If you want to file RTI Online, use our Guide here!) Shri Randhir Kumar Bhaskar, FSO (Gen) Consumer Affairs Dept GNCTD authorised Shri Shakti Singh to appear before the Commission and to submit the documents. When the Commission queried as to where the information sought would be available, it was the submission of Shri Shakti Singh that he was instructed only to supply the documents to the Commission and is not aware of anything. Not appearing for the hearing RTI Applicant filed complaint before the CIC requesting to treat his appeal as complaint filed u/s 18 of the Act and to decide in terms of judicial pronouncement in the case of J.K.Mittal Vs CIC as no purpose would be served in case the Respondent is directed to provide the requisite information after a lapse of a period of more than 2.5 years. The Commission directed Shri Randhir Kumar Baskar, FSO (Gen) to show cause as to why maximum penalty should not be imposed upon him for not appearing for the hearing and authorizing a junior official who is not aware of the case to appear and thereby obstructing the supply of information. L.G. Dass Vs. Consumer Affairs Dept, GNCTD You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website!
  3. After his son not getting good marks in the MBBS exam, father filed RTI to obtain copy of question paper and answer keys and disclosure of marks from the University. RTI Applicant stated that supply of the documents after completion of the admission process would be embarrassing, humiliating and prejudice to the life and liberty of his son, therefore if he is given a speedy access to the said documents, then his ranking is likely to move­ up. However, Central Information Commission did not agree to this and recorded that "Complainant has failed to prove how the non­ disclosure of information affects the life and liberty of his son. (If you want to file RTI Online, do read our guide on how to file RTI online here) His son getting poor marks and his son’s belief in having done well in Botany and Zoology is not good enough to invoke the ‘life and liberty’ clause. It is not proper and correct to treat every application for disclosure of marks sheet or key etc, as life and liberty related application. Hence that plea was rejected by CIC. Urgency Clause On the issue of urgency clause, CIC stated that if the disclosure as sought reveals increase in marks of appellant’s son, and admissions get closed, he might lose one year which could be irreparable. This is the only ground on which the urgency plea could be accepted and priority in hearing could be granted. But, because the appellant sought compensation of Rs 5 lac and penalty be imposed on the public authority, CIC observed that there is no justification for hearing it on priority. Immediate imposition of penalty The Commission further observed that if complainant wanted to treat this complaint as complaint only, there is no need for urgent hearing because, heavens do not fall if there is no immediate imposition of penalty and grant of compensation which can wait for the other side to present their case. Thus CIC finds that there is no urgency in the complaint and directs the matter to be listed for hearing as per its turn. Statutory rules prescribed by any Public Authority do not get overridden by the provisions of the RTI Act The RTI application also raised the following issue before the commission "Whether the University or for that matter any Public Authority has to supply the documents as per the fees prescribed under the RTI Act when the Complainant/Appellant seeks information under RTI Act or according to the fees prescribed by the Public Authority." In case Sh. Deepak Agnihotri Vs. State Bank of India F. no. CIC/SM/A/2009/001883­AT, by the Information Commissioner Shri A.N. Tiwari: In my understanding it would be entirely fallacious to hold that because of the presence of the RTI Act and the Rules , public authorities are completely barred from fixing the charges at which they would try to sell or disclose information. RTI Act enjoins that Public Authority could progressively bring more and more information into the public domain and authorize their disclosure. RTI Act, does not , at any place, say that such public authorities would be barred from placing any fee or price or a charge on the disclosure of the information brought by them into the public domain. In Registrar of Companies & Ors. versus Dharmendra Kumar Garg & Ors. in WP © No. 11271/2009, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court discussed in his decision dated 01.06.2012 as follows: The said rules being statutory in nature and specific in their application, do not get overridden by the rules framed under the RTI Act with regard to prescription of fee for supply of information, which is general in nature, and apply to all kinds of applications made under the RTI Act to seek information. Therefore, commission decided that the statutory rules prescribed by any Public Authority do not get overridden by the provisions of the RTI Act and accordingly dismisses the instant Appeal while upholding the CPIO and AA’s decision. The Appellant was advised to pay the charges laid down for verification of details of PNR and obtain the information which may be provided by the PIO. Citation: CIC/SA/C/2014/000268 dated 07.07.2014 Dr. Jeet Singh Mann Vs Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website or from here!
  4. CIC has directed to treat the RTI application as a complaint which sought to know the action being taken against those who register agreement to sell/Release deed after 5.00 pm in Sub-­registrar office. When the applicant went to First Appellate Authority (FAA), has held that the information sought seems to be in the nature of grievance and advised the Appellant to file a complaint so that the case would be investigated and brought to its logical end. The Commission however, recommended to the public authority Revenue Department, GNCTD to treat the RTI application itself as a complaint and after completion of the enquiry, the action taken report to be shared with the Appellant. (We are building RTI Wiki, if you are interested in contributing, please tweet #RTIWiki, we shall get back to you) The appellant filed RTI application dated 19­09­2012, whereby he sought information as to the a Registered Release Deed, Copy of Perpetual Lease etc. PIO replied on 18­10­2012. Being unsatisfied with the reply of PIO, the appellant preferred First Appeal. FAA by his order dated 06­03­2013 directed PIO to provide modified reply as to Point No. 4 to 8 and 13. Having not received the information, the appellant has approached the commission in Second Appeal. Treat the RTI application as a complaint Decision: The Commission directed the PIO to comply with the order of the Appellate Authority within two weeks and also to show cause as to why penalty u/s 20(1) should not be imposed upon him for not complying with the order of the Appellate Authority. The decision is available at the CIC website here! If you have queries regarding Right to Information kindly post at our forum here and if you have anything to add to this decision, kindly post it in the comments below.
  5. In most of the cases filed by a citizen for not receiving any reply from Public Information Officer (PIO) of various Departments, the Commission were merely directing the CPIO to provide the information which the complainant had sought instead of deciding the complaints on merits. There can be no dispute that while considering a complaint made under Section 18 of the Act, the Commission cannot direct the concerned CPIO to provide the information which the complainant had sought from him. The Commission has no power, while dealing with a complaint, to direct providing of the information subject- matter of the complaint. Thus Information Commission has no power to send the complaint back. The only order which can be passed by the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, under Section 18 is an order of penalty provided under Section 20. Now in a landmark decision on 28.10.2013 J.K.MITTAL Vs CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION AND ANR, Delhi High Court has quashed the practice of summary disposal of complaints by remanding the matter to First Appellate Authority/ CPIO, without even hearing the complainant or deciding the complaint on merits. So now onwards when you do not receive the reply from CPIO, insert this judgement that "Information Commission has no power to send the complaint back" and add the following link: "CPIO had failed to provide information sought in the application, therefore, the petitioner is filing a complaint before the Central Information Commission or State Information Commissioner under Section 18 read with Section 20 of the Right to Information Act, seeking imposition of penalty against the said CPIO under Section 20 of the Act." Information Commission has no power to send the complaint back Such a power can only be exercised when a Second Appeal in terms of Sub-section (3) of Section 19 is preferred before the Commissioner. The scope of the powers of the Commission under Section 18 of the Act came up for consideration of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Central Information Commissioner vs. State of Manipur 2012(286) E.L.T. 485(S.C.) Section 18 of the Act, to the extent it is relevant provides that it shall be the duty of the Commission to receive and enquire into a complaint from any person who has been refused access to any information requested under the Act or who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limits specified under the Act. It is, therefore, obligatory for the Commission to decide such a complaint on merit instead of simply directing the CPIO to provide information which the complainant had sought. If the Commission finds that the CPIO had without reasonable cause refused to receive an application for information or had not furnished information within the prescribed time or had given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, it is required to impose prescribed penalty upon such a CPIO/SPIO, as the case may be. In the cases covered by Sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the Act, the Commission is also required to recommend disciplinary action against the concerned CPIO or SPIO, under the service rules applicable to him. The standard procedure Information Commission has been adopting from quite a long time has been to decide the complaint as: (i) In case no reply has been given by the CPIO to the Complainant to his RTI- request dated 14.2.2012 CPIO should furnish a reply to the Complainant within two weeks of receipt of this order. (ii) In case CPIO has already given a reply to the Complainant in the matter, he should furnish a copy of his reply to the Complainant within one week of receipt of this order.” It is learnt that nearly 8600 matters have been summarily disposed by the CIC in recent years out of which more than 4000 have been disposed off by Information Commissioner Information Commissioner. In the present case of J.K.MITTAL Vs CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION AND ANR, the same thing happened. Sh. J.K. Mittal filed an application dated 4th February, 2012 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Central Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) seeking certain information. Alleging that the CPIO had failed to provide information sought in terms of the aforesaid application, the petitioner filed a complaint before the Central Information Commission under Section 18 read with Section 20 of the Right to Information Act, seeking imposition of penalty against the said CPIO under Section 20 of the Act. The court has decided that "As regards, the grievance expressed by the petitioner that the Commission, despite its attention being drawn to the above referred decision of the Apex Court continues, while considering a complaint under Section 18 of the Act, to direct the concerned CPIO to provide information instead of deciding the complaint on merits, it is expected that the Commission henceforth will decide the complaints on merits instead of directing the CPIO to provide the information which the complainant had sought. Of course, it would be open to the Commission to give such a direction while entertaining a second appeal under Sub- section (3) of Section 19 of the Act." Citation: J.K.MITTAL Vs CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION AND ANR Decision Number: W.P.© No.6755.12 dated 28.10.2013 Download: Click here to download the decision Forum Discussion Thread: Del H.C. quashes practice of summary disposal of complaints by CIC and remanding them back
  6. [caption id=attachment_31" align="alignright" width="262] Deemed Refusal[/caption] The Central Information commission has referred a Deemed refusal case back to CPIO even after 11 months of no reply in the decision dated 19.08.2013. In the instant case, the Commission has received a petition on 6.2.2013 from Mr Sunil Kumar against Central Coalfields Ltd. for deemed refusal to his RTI request dated 21.9.2012. The case was heard on 19.08.2013. However, the commission has decided not to inquire into a complaint for deemed refusal, but refer the case to CPIO to now provide information after some 11 months have passed. On the contrary, RTI Act 2005 reads as following: Section 18 1 © read as: 1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person,— c. who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act; The Commission noted that: 2. In order to avoid multiple proceedings under sections 19 and 18 of the RTI Act, viz., appeals and complaints, this case is remitted to CPIO, Central Coalfields Limited, Jharkhand (along with copy of complaint and RTI-request), with the following directions: (i) In case no reply has been given by CPIO to the Complainant to his RTI-request dated 21.9.2012, CPIO should furnish a reply to the Complainant within two weeks of receipt of this order. (ii) In case CPIO has already given a reply to the Complainant in the matter, he should furnish a copy of his reply to the Complainant within one week of receipt of this order. (iii) CPIO should invariably indicate to the Complainant the name and address of the 1st Appellate Authority, before whom the Complainant can file first-appeal, if any. 3. In case the Complainant is not satisfied with the reply received from CPIO, he, under section 19(1) of the RTI Act, may within the time prescribed, file his first-appeal before the Appellate Authority (AA). 4. On receipt of the first appeal from the petitioner as per the above directions, AA should dispose of the appeal within the period stipulated in the RTI Act. Deemed Refusal The question is whether there is any enforceability of Section 18 1 © for a common RTI Applicant? Can he get the justice (not just the reply) in reasonable time? An RTI application filed on the month of sept 2009 and complaint filed for deemed refusal to CIC on Feb 2013 is heard on Aug 2013 with a direction for CPIO to provide the information; then what's the purpose of bringing to notice of CIC that CPIO has not provided the information in the stipulated time period? Please see the numerous discussions on Deemed Refusal over our forum here!
  7. CIC has directed that in case of complaint for unsatisfactory reply from CPIO, do not directly approach Commission. Shri Gagan Singh of New Delhi has complained to the Central Information Commission that he received unsatisfactory reply/information from the Central Public Information Officer on his RTI-Application dt. 09-11-2011. 2. It is noted that the Complainant did not have an opportunity to go to the Appellate Authority and has directly approached the Commission with his complaint. In exercise of powers vested under Section 18(1) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, we direct the Appellate Authority to enquire into the allegations made by the Complainant and after giving him an opportunity of hearing, to pass an appropriate order without any further loss of time. 3. In case the Complainant is not satisfied with the orders of the Appellate Authority, he is free to approach this Commission again in Second Appeal. Do not directly approach Commission.
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