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  1. 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. Filing of FIR is no solution to missing files In the present case of Bhan Singh Vs SDM(Mehrauli), GNCTD the Commission noted that respondent authority office has mentioned about existence of order of 1989 referred by the appellant, but respondent authority stated that no other paper relating to that was available. The Commission directs the respondent authority to spell out the policy in case the record pertaining to key orders like 1989 of Tehsildar (Mehrauli) are not maintained or missing. The complete decision can be read here!
  2. rtiindia

    Shadow file under RTI

    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..." Shadow file under RTI In this decision of the CIC where the PIO could not find the original file, and in turn produced 'Shadow file' in front of the CIC, a certified true copy of the shadow file was allowed. The decision can be read here!
  3. 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. Claim that a file is missing or is not traceable has no legality under RTI Since the Commission has the power to direct disclosure of information provided, it is not exempted from such disclosure, it would also have the jurisdiction to direct an inquiry into the matter wherever it is claimed by the PIO/CPIO that the information sought by the applicant is not traceable/readily traceable/currently traceable. Even in a case where the PIO/CPIO takes a plea that the information sought by the applicant was never available with the government but, the Commission on the basis of the material available to it forms a prima facie opinion that the said information was in fact available with the government, it would be justified in directing an inquiry by a responsible officer of the department/office concerned, to again look into the matter rather deeply and verify whether such an information was actually available in the records of the government at some point of time or not. After all, it is quite possible that the required information may be located if a thorough search is made in which event, it could be possible to supply it to the applicant. Fear of disciplinary action, against the person responsible for loss of the information, will also work as a deterrence against the willful suppression of the information, by vested interests. It would also be open to the Commission, to make an inquiry itself instead of directing an inquiry by the department/office concerned. The decision is available in the CIC website here: Sh.Om Prakash Vs. Land & Building 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!
  4. During hearing of appeal PIO informed the Commission that concerned file was not traceable and hence appellant had been provided with the information available with them. Commission directed the PIO to file FIR on missing file and provide a copy of the same to appellant. CIC_SA_A_2015_000326_M_157373.pdf
  5. The Central Information Commission, entrusted with monitoring of record-keeping in government bodies, has lost the records relating to the resignation of first Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah who headed the institution for nearly five years. Read more: CIC loses files related to first Commissioner Habibullah's | Business Standard News
  6. An employee, against whom an inquiry was conducted, has been asking for the copy of the inquiry report from past 6 years. He claims to have already obtained from the office concerned, he also claims to have obtained a copy of noting of DDE unofficially. But according to PIO the files are missing. The Commission directed the Directorate of Education GNCTD, Delhi to make a thorough investigation and search for the file which is not missing, but misplaced, as stated by the appellant and report the same. (If you have any query regarding RTI, kindly post it over our forum here!) The employee has every right to have a copy of inquiry report and the relevant annexure, under the principles of... natural justice and according to guidelines of the departmental enquiry, so that he can go in appeal if he is aggrieved by the inquiry report. An employee cannot be kept in uncertainty of charges against him eternally. The appellant complained that he is waiting for the last 6 years. Search for the file which is not missing but misplaced The Commission notes the pathetic state of affairs with reference to the important files containing documents which are crucial for appellant’s right to employment. The DDE/PIO has a duty to trace the file, share it with the appellant because the appellant cannot be kept in uncertainty of charges against him eternally. The Commission also directs the respondent authority to find who was the controller of records at the relevant point of time and who might have been responsible for the misplacing the file. A systematic inquiry must be initiated in this regard also. The citation is available here: Ms. Upma Saxena Vs. Dte of Education, File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/001261­SA dated 20­06­2014
  7. Records are Government property and the retiring police official must handover the relevant records to the concerned staff. In a reply given by CPIO it has stated that the copy of police complaint, enquiry report, statement were with ASI Vinod Kumar then posted at PS Prashant Vihar. He is reported to be retired from Delhi Police. And thus the information cannot be provided. However, complainant went up to CIC for second appeal where it was contended that "police complaint records are Government property. It must be available within the police station. No person/officer can take/dispose of those records when he retires from service as claimed. Records must be handed over to the concerned staff/ SHO at the time of retirement." Document do not retire with retirement of a police officer CIC rightly decided that there is merit in the contention put forth by the appellant that the relevant records must be available at PS Prashant Vihar, which is a Government property and the retiring police official must handover the relevant records to the SHO/concerned staff. Thus CIC felt that document do not retire with retirement of a police officer. The Commission hereby directs the CPIO to locate the concerned file and provide copy of complaint dated 9.9.2005 along with relevant documents to the appellant. In case this complaint is not traceable, the CPIO is directed to provide specific reply stating action, if any, taken by the Police and the reasons thereof. There is a bigger question that haunts us all: Why do Government files go missing? If the Government has prescribed time limits, retention of record schedule then why there is such a high rate of records getting evaporated? The chief information commissioner, Justice D K Sinha, former judge of the Jharkhand high court, had informed that ...Most of the complaints are related to missing land records. It is surprising that 20-25% of the complaints received by the commission are related to land records which are missing. Here are some more missing records threads like these: File on former RAW chief missing from CBI records Heritage Structures go 'missing' from AMC records - RTI India Rare govt records missing at National Archives - RTI India Murder case papers go 'missing' from police records Babus cant hide behind missing files Maharashtra: 'Files go missing whenever there is fear of RTI query' In a significant victory for RTI activists, state information commissioner, Maharashtra sh.Suresh Joshi once ruled that missing files cannot be taken lightly and that they attract the provisions of the Maharashtra Public Records Act, 2005. This means that officials will have to recover or restore files that go missing from their custody. Missing files can be regenerated from their mirror images in files in other departments. In case of files go missing as happened here when the record got missing with the retirement of a police officer: An officer shall in the event of any unauthorised removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge, forthwith take appropriate action for their recovery or restoration The officer shall immediately submit a written report on any info about any unauthorised removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge and about the action initiated by him. The officer may seek assistance from any government officer or any other person for the purpose of recovery or restoration of the public records and such officer or person shall render all assistance to him. Our RTI Team Member has posted a blog about how to write an RTI to deal with the missing records, you may be interested in using the format here!
  8. RTI reply through Registered Post AD or Speed Post is what the Central Information Commission and State Information Commission has been insisting. The reply through ordinary mail should not be resorted too. Neither there should be compulsion to RTI Applicant to collect the information from the Public Offices. In the recent order by Karnataka Information Commission, in the case "Sri M. S. Kumaraswamy vs. PIO & Assistant Executive Engineer, BBMP, Whitefield Sub-division, Bangalore", noted that "the Respondent has now provided the information which has been handed over to the unauthorized person without obtaining the acknowledgement. Commission noted that in several instances the officers and officials of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike have handed over the information to the unauthorized persons other than the applicants or to the authorized persons. Further, the Commission has already stated that there is no need to applicants to go over to the Government offices and the Public Information Officer / public authority should send the information either through the speed post or RPAD. This should be scrupulously followed." Earlier CIC has already ordered in the decision as far as 31st December 2008 that: "There have been instances where the Appellants have complained that they had not received the reply sent by the Respondents. In fact, yesterday too in a case dealing with the Railways (Nos. CIC/OK/C/2008/273 & 274) there was a similar complaint and the Respondents replied that they had sent the reply through ordinary mail. The Commission directs them to ensure that replies to all RTI-applications are henceforth sent by speed post/registered post." RTI reply through Registered Post AD or Speed Post As per the forum post here, Sh. G.L.N. Prasad states that "Act stipulates that the Onus of proof that information was provided rests on PIO and this burden compels them to send communications only through Regd., Post." On the reaction to PIO sending reply by ordinary post, Sh sharadphadke states that: "In one RTI to Bombay High Court, though a stamped envelop was sent for information they put same amount of stamps back side. i.e. duplication in stamps. First appeal on the same subject was passed after reminder and by ordinary post." "Even god will not be able to put we Indians on track, there will be something missing." The Activist have noted that there is no Office Memorandum by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) regarding RTI reply through Registered Post AD or Speed Post. Sh NARAYAN DAS in the forum post here has stated that "I have requested to DoPT to issue a proper OM in this respect to all central and state offices on 19.08.2013 with ref. to cic decision but no action taken in this respect." What do you think? Should the RTI reply through Registered Post AD or Speed Post be the norm? Post your views in the forum here!
  9. Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) destroyed the entire material relating to the examination, including OMR sheet for the examination conducted by them for post of Principal in Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Noida (NVS) even before the retention period. The RTI applicant could not get the information about the copy of question paper, scoring key and OMR sheet in connection with written test because records destroyed before the retention period by IBPS. Moreover, NVS CPIO transferred the application to IBPS whose status itself being Public Authority is sub-judice. Instead of simply demanding the information from IBPS, PIO of NVS transferred it to IBPS. The commission noticed that "The NVS has out sourced the recruitment process to IBPS for which they are being paid by the government agency. As such, destruction of the answer sheets before expiry of six month period is a violation of the contractual agreement for which IBPS should be penalised." Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) has been working more closely with Public Sector Banks to help them move forward in matters of recruitment by handling turn-key projects. The Governing Board consists of nominees from Reserve Bank of India, Ministry of Finance Government of India, National Institute of Bank Management, representatives of Public Sector Banks, Insurance sector and academics. The matters related to policy and affairs of the Institute are vested in the Governing Board. The foundation of the Institute is to promote professionalism in Talent Acquisition through selection of competent and efficient cadres of personnel from the clerical to the executive tier. The Institute is an autonomous body; registered as a Public Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950; a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and a centre for providing PhD in Management affiliated to the SNDT University. FACTS Vide RTI dt 29.1.2013 the appellant had sought copy of question paper, scoring key and OMR sheet of Roll No. 1102130762 in connection with written test for post of Principal in NVS held on 5.8.2012. PIO, NVS vide letter dated 8.2.2013 transferred the RTI to IBPS for providing a response. GM (Administration), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) vide letter dated 31.5.2013, addressed to PIO, NVS informed that the entire material relating to the subject examination has already been destroyed, including OMR sheet as per their weeding out policy. FAA vide order dated 6.6.2013 observed that the recruitment agency IBPS has provided a response on 31.5.2013 and the same was sent to the appellant and appeal was disposed of. Submissions made by the appellant and public authority were heard. PIO submitted that as per their MOU with the IBPS, a copy of which is submitted to the Commission, the agency is mandated to preserve answer sheets for six months after the submission of the result and thereafter to be destroyed. Appellant submitted that the examination result was declared in Oct. 2012 and she had filed her RTI on 29.1.2013. However, she has not been provided the question paper and OMR sheet. DECISION: Records destroyed before the retention period The Commission finds that the result was announced in Oct. 2012 and RTI filed on 29.1.2013. NVS transferred the RTI to IBPS on 8.2.2013. The request for answer sheet was well within the retention period of six months as per the MOU between NVS and IBPS. As per para A(10) of the MOU, the IBPS is required to preserve used answer sheets for six months after submission of results. As the information sought was well within the six month period, the IBPS should not have destroyed the answer sheets and they should have provided a copy of her answer sheet to the NVS, in case the issue of IBPS being a public authority is subjudice. Moreover, we also find fault with the PIO, NVS for having transferred the RTI to IBPS u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act. They should have simply demanded the information from IBPS and provided a response to the appellant. The NVS has out sourced the recruitment process to IBPS for which they are being paid by the government agency. As such, destruction of the answer sheets before expiry of six month period is a violation of the contractual agreement for which IBPS should be penalised. The Commission directs PIO to provide a copy of the information sought, if still available with the IBPS. If it is no longer available, NVS should take appropriate action against IBPS for violation of their contractual agreement. A response be provided to the appellant under intimation to the Commission within 3 weeks from date of receipt of the order. The decision can be downloaded from here: Records destroyed before the retention period Citation: File No.CIC/RM/A/2013/000643 Rajiv Mathur, Central Information Commissioner Appellant: Ms. Geeta Rani Panda, Sambalpur Public Authority: Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Noida Date of Hearing: 01.11.2013 Date of decision: 01.11.2013 Here are the numerous RTI Discussion threads over our forum on this issue: http://goo.gl/72a8Yh. You can take help of RTI application for preventing such destruction of records in the thread here: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/93998-prevention-against-malafide-destruction-records.html. Also, the decision of the Armed forces tribunal, Principal Bench, in Para.19 in HARISH CHANDRA JOSHI ...... APPLICANT Vs. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS, it is mentioned that "in the matter of “Hav Bhagmal Vs Union of India & Ors.”, has provided compensation to the applicant for the unwarranted / unjustified loss of records by the respondents." The decision is available here! What is your opinion on such act by public authorities on issues where Records destroyed before the retention period?
  10. [h=1]As reported by Aneesha Mathur in indianexpress.com on 18 Sep 2013: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cic-can-order-depts-to-probe-missing-files-hc/1170650/ CIC can order depts to probe missing files: HC[/h] Noting, "It is not uncommon in government departments to evade disclosure of information taking the plea information sought is not available," the Delhi HC said the Chief Information Commission can direct a government department to inquire into "missing" files "wherever it is claimed...information sought is not traceable." HC bench issued the order on a plea by the Government of India against an order of the CIC seeking an inquiry by the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, into a missing project report on an Ayurvedic Health Resort and Herbal Garden at Vagamon, Kerala, submitted by Kerala Government in December 2005. In 2011, in reply to an RTI application PIO, Tourism Ministry, stated the report had never been received. The applicant, Vishwas Bhamburkar, approached the Appellate authority, which observed a photocopy submitted by him indicated the file had been received by the Ministry. He approached the CIC, where PIO, Tourism Ministry, confirmed that signatures on it were those of the then Joint Secretary and Director of the MoT. The PIO said there was "no trace of the said report..." The CIC had observed "either the PIO or other officer could be hiding the information or report could be forged or there could be a conspiracy by which the report and associated papers were taken away from the Government."
  11. If an application is received in an office about some files/documents which are, after the receipt of application, not found in the office then how should PIO reply to the applicant?
  12. As reported by Nivedita Khandekar in hindustantimes.com on 28 February 2011: Govt officers cite Govt officers cite ‘missing files’ to avoid rti ambit The powers-that-be have found loopholes in the RTI Act and are using them to deny information to applicants. “Refusing to provide information under the garb of ‘missing documents’ has been a regular practice with public information officers from the MCD, DDA and other departments,” said MK Gupta, a member of Dwarka Forum, a group of activists that uses the RTI Act to raise civic matters. When the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) analysed the orders passed by various information commissioners at the national and state level for its annual awards last year, the data collated was astounding. “During 2010, information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who handles departments pertaining to Delhi, had received as many as 30 such cases and ordered filing FIRs in 28 cases,” said Neeraj Kumar of PCRF. At a national level, there were 402 such cases, of which police complaints were asked to be filed in only 345 cases. Arvind Kejriwal, RTI activist and Magsaysay award winner said, “Information Commissioners treat ‘missing papers/file’ as a legitimate excuse for denial of information.” He further added, “Apart from directions to file police complaints, stringent steps like suspension or disciplinary action against officials concerned are necessary.”
  13. As reported by C Shivakumar at expressbuzz.com on 15 Nov 2009 CHENNAI: Four crucial files related to land reclassification have gone missing from the office of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), prompting the Tamil Nadu Information Commission to act on it following an RTI application. The commission, noting that no action had yet been taken against the custodian of the missing records, ordered a probe on October 16 and sought action within six weeks. This, after repeated efforts by a city resident since early last year failed to gain him access to the four files, following which he filed a complaint before the commission about the CMDA’s “deliberate refusal”. It was on January 12, 2008, that A Sethu filed an RTI application seeking six CMDA files on land reclassification, wanting to inspect them and take their copies. As the CMDA responded with only two files, he appealed six weeks later for the four others. Days later, on March 5, he was told that the other four files were not available. This led Sethu to appeal to the information commission — on April 3 last year. At this, the petitioner received a copy of the CMDA’s letter dated April 5, curiously more than a 100 days later. The consignment with a postal delivery seal dated April 6 was delivered at his Choolaimedu residence on July 14, 2008. The delay apart, as the commission noted, the letter carried “no explanation” about the missing files, and “no action” had been taken against its keeper. “One file has now been traced,” it said, “but they have not reported either to the commission or to the petitioner”. The commission, in its order, also demanded personal explanation of the CMDA’s member secretary as to how the RTI administration in his office had not improved, given the report that no review of the register was done until it received the summons. 4 vital files missing at Chennai state office
  14. As reported by Ambika Pandit at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 21 July 2009 NEW DELHI: Refusal to provide information under the Right to Information Act citing missing files can now evoke punishment. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has reprimanded the Delhi government's department of women and children for allowing a critical file linked to the purchase scam to go missing and ordered that the appellant seeking the file as part of a reply to an RTI be compensated with Rs 10,000. The CIC also directed that appellant Raj Mangal Prasad be compensated before August 31, failing which a penal interest of 12% will be applicable. The CIC noted that the appellant had asked for the status of action taken by the department in the matter of the purchase scam which involved essential items bought for inmates of state run homes. The government replied and indicated the action taken based on available records. "In so far as the second query for allowing inspection of the file concerned, the government expressed its inability on the ground that the file in question was missing, which reflects mismanagement in maintenance of records. The alleged offenders and officials of the department thus attempted to escape the penal action against them. It is the department of women and child development which is held responsible for suppression of facts and inefficient management of records," the CIC order stated. In his observations, central information commissioner professor M M Ansari said: "A major objective of the RTI is to contain corruption through promotion of transparency in functioning of public authorities. In the instant case a major corruption of the purchases scam has been exposed and at least two officials of the respondent (department of women and child) have been arrested. It is probable that many more officials of the department could be associated with the matter." Ansari added that the appellant was deprived of the opportunity to access the information contained in the file to expose the malpractices in the purchases scam. "The unsuccessful efforts made by the department to search and trace the file early show that the appellant's right to seek information has not been duly honoured in the letter and spirit of the Act, for which he needs to be compensated under section 19 (8)(b) of the Act for all kinds of losses and detriment suffered by him," the order added. Source: Missing files no ground to reject RTI plea - Delhi - City - NEWS - The Times of India
  15. sidmis

    Mystery of the missing file

    Mystery of the missing file as reported by SUKHADA TATKE |12 Sep 2008|TNN All's not well with the way the Sunshine Act is working in Mumbai; the Right To Information Act, supposed to be the magic wand that can get things working in an inefficient and apathetic bureaucracy , has needed help from the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission to be effective in a neighbourhood battle between an Andheri housing society and some tenants. But Mohammad Afzal did not know all this when he filed an RTI application with the BMC, seeking to know whether the health club that was coming up inside the society had all the permissions . What prompted the RTI query was a directive from the Deepti Shakti Mukti Housing Society, asking all tenants to pay the health club's fees even if they were not using its facilities. So Afzal filed his first RTI query in August 2006 with the BMC's building proposals department at Bandra. "Does the housing society have the required permission from all the authorities concerned to run the club? How many times have society members approached the authorities for permission ? Can you provide a plan of the building?'' were some of the questions that the RTI plea asked. "The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the building proposals department asked me to provide the plot number as well as the city survey number (called 'CTS' ) of the housing complex. I submitted both of them immediately. But, after that, I failed to hear from the department,'' Afzal told TOI. "They evaded me every time I went there and finally said the relevant files were missing,'' he added. So, 58 days after he filed the first RTI plea, Afzal filed an appeal with the relevant appellate authority in the BMC. "But, in the hearing , the BMC PIO said he had found the 'missing ' file and that I could collect it from him the next day after paying the charges,'' Afzal said. But, somehow, the file was again missing the next day. "They simply told me that the file had again gone missing,'' Afzal said. So he filed an appeal with the State Information Commission. The BMC official was called for the hearing - it was already July 2008, about two years after he had filed the first RTI query - and the same farce unfolded all over again. Yes, the file had been located; and would Afzal be kind enough to come and collect the file "the next day''? Afzal again went to the BMC building proposals department and, again, he was told that the file had vanished. The 45-year-old then took up the case with the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission, detailing the type of stonewalling that he had to put up with. But even he was not prepared for what followed. He got a call from the BMC office the very next day; the file had finally been located and would be handed over to him if he could drop in at the office. The surprises did not end there. The BMC on its own invited Afzal to inspect the documents when he visited its Bandra office the next day and the file revealed that the health club was not mentioned at all in the building plan. But the war may not have been won. The BMC has not said anything about what it plans to do with the illegal health club. BMC PIO V L Joshi was also not very apologetic about the two-year not-so-merry-go-round that Afzal had to go through. "It was he who delayed giving us the relevant information about the plot of land,'' he insisted. THE BACKLOG 16,500 cases are pending in the State Information Commission. 10,000 cases have been disposed of from March 2006 to August 2008. Each information commissioner hears 700-1000 appeals every year. Each Bombay High Court hears about 2,500 cases annually. Mystery of the missing file-Mumbai-Cities-The Times of India
  16. As reported by Neha Shukla of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 12 August 2008: It takes RTI Act to trace missing files-Lucknow-Cities-The Times of India It takes RTI Act to trace missing files LUCKNOW: It might be all gone with the 'missing’ files. The details about allotment of a three 'bigha' of gram sabha land, worth approximately Rs 10 crore in present times, to an institute called 'dastkari haat samiti' in village Ganeshpur Rahmanpur (Chinhat), tehsil-Sadar, Lucknow, might not be known. The information about the so-called missing files has now been disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A letter dated December 31, 2007, addressed by the then district magistrate of Lucknow to the State Information Commission (SIC) had mentioned that files related to the reclamation of land in village Ganeshpur Rahmanpur in favour of lekhpal training school and dastkari haat samiti were sent to the office of Lok Ayukta but they had not been returned yet. DM had also stated that a letter had been sent to secretary, Lok Ayukta, UP government. However, in a missive shot off as a response to DM's letter, secretary, Lok Ayukta, had mentioned that file nos A-120 and A-121 had been returned. The said files, however, are still to be traced. The gram sabha records of 1993 show that the land was allotted to the above mentioned institute - dastkari haat samiti - which carried a New Delhi address. "I pursued gram sabha records and came across this information but district administration has not shown the file regarding this allotment,” said Izhar Ansari, who had filed an application with land management section under the RTI Act on May 22, 2005, seeking inspection of the file concerned. The case was disposed off by SIC. It has been more than two years now but the applicant is yet to see the files. In an application filed with the opposite party, applicant had sought inspection of two files related to land reclamation. The said files included file no 105/A/DLRC/93-94 and those related to the allotment of land to dastkari haat samiti in Chinhat locality of Lucknow. The 'opposite party', in this case, comprised Yogesh Kumar Shukla, public information officer (PIO) and additional district magistrate (ADM), Alka Verma, additional SDM and in charge, land management section and district magistrate/appellate authority, Lucknow. While he was shown file no 105/A/DLRC/93-94, the file related to the samiti was not shown to Ansari. The reason extended by PIO was that the said file was not with him but with the Lok Ayukta office. The appellant then filed his appeal with the first appellate authority on July 4, 2006 which was disposed of on August 22, 2006 by the then district magistrate/appellate authority, Lucknow, Ramendra Tripathi. The order by the first appeal authority contained reference to the letter of officer incharge (land management) dated August 7, 2006, which stated that the said file was pending with the Lok Ayukta office. The order upheld the letter and also mentioned that the appellant had been informed about the same. The applicant in his appeal had sought penalising of the PIO and officer incharge land management section, besides disciplinary action against them. However, in one of the first speaking orders issued by SIC on July 24 this year, the copy of which was handed over to the applicant in the matter, on Monday, SIC has directed the opposite party to show the file to the applicant as and when it is traced. "The order does not fix any time limit for searching and producing the file and if all PIOs cite similar reasons where will the Act go,” said the applicant.
  17. In a recent decision/order CIC has taken a very serious view of "missing files" related to corruption. The respondent (University of Delhi) claimed to have lost the files and correspondence from the Anti-Corruption Branch relating to a corruption case of The Principal, Motilal Nehru College. Although the enquiry report was submitted to the VC in Jan 2004, there was no action till now. The decision/order is attached. OK-12052008-02.pdf
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