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  1. The commission has not allowed joint inspection of properties under MCD by using RTI Act provisions where the contention of inspection was to expose unauthorised construction in the larger public interest and that it's an exercise to disclose conspiracy between the Officers of MCD and constructers. Inspection of the ‘information’ would certainly not include private ‘house property’ as it would lead to interpretation of section 2 (f) and 2 (j) in too liberal a fashion. It is only the report/document/sample generated after inspection and which is within the domain of the public authority that can be accessed under the provisions of the RTI Act. ‘Any material in any form’ may not be equated with the term ‘material in ANY FORM’ as such comparison is odious and evidently overreaches the legislative intent. Secondly, Inspection of the properties would certainly attract Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act as it would invade the privacy of the owner/occupant(s) of the said property which is a Fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India unauthorised construction in MCD The RTI Applicant has insisted that the Commission under Section 25 (5) of the RTI Act may direct the MCD to allow joint inspection with the MCD Officials of properties which have illegally constructed their houses. Pursuant to the Commission’s Orders dated 27 August 2013, and 30 October 2013, a full bench of the Commission had been constituted in this cases. Matter was heard on 21 November 2013. The commission noted that there are two issues involved in the present case: Whether the Central Information Commission (hereinafter “Commission”) has the ‘power to direct’ the Public Authority i.e. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (hereinafter “MCD”) to allow inspection of the Private/Third Party properties to the Appellant-in person along with technical staff/Engineers of the MCD under the RTI Act, 2005 or the DMC Act. The second issue before the Commission is (in case the Commission has the power to direct the said ‘inspection of the properties’) whether such inspection would invade the privacy of the individual owner and/or occupant of the said property and would hence attract Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. Commission Decision: The powers of the Commission under Section 18 of the RTI Act specifically allow the CIC to inquire into any complaint filed by the RTI Applicant. The said section further allows the CIC to initiate an enquiry into the matter, if required which includes summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons, receiving evidence on affidavit, inspection of documents, etc. However, CIC does not have any power under Section 18 of the Act to allow Joint inspection of third party property to a RTI Applicant. Section 18 further does not grant power to the CIC to disclose any information to the RTI Applicant. Inspection’ does not have any relationship to any Public Activity or interest specially in the presence of alternate mechanism to carry out such inspection by the MCD officials as per the Provisions of the DMC Act. On the contrary, allowing such inspection of the personal property to ‘third party’ under the RTI Act may inculcate the ‘misuse’ of this privileged transparency right which will not be in the larger public interest. Appeal No: CIC/DS/A/2012/002173, CIC/DS/A/2012/002176 and CIC/DS/A/2012/002184 Appellant : Shri A.D. Sharma Public Authority : Municipal Corporation Delhi Date of Hearing : 21.11.2013 Date of Decision : 17.12.2013 Smt. Deepak Sandhu Chief Information Commissioner Shri Basant Seth & Shri Rajiv Mathur Information Commissioners Decision of the CIC: http://rti.cc/property
  2. [caption id=attachment_2106" align="alignright" width="300] false and misleading information[/caption] Senior citizen was made to run from pillar to post by providing false and misleading information. When the appeal came for hearing at CIC and the misdeed was exposed, the CPIO again requested for 30 more days to trace out the information after spending 9 months over it. Rightly so, the CIC imposed a compensation for the detriment and harassment caused to the appellant on account of this delay and Commission directed the public authority to pay compensation of Rs. 3000/– to the appellant. Providing false and misleading information The Fact of the case are as under: It was confirmed by the representatives of DTL that the information sought by the appellant was in fact held by them but they could not offer any reasons by way of explanation as to why they had previously stated before the Commission that the information was held by GENCO. It was confirmed that the holder of information is Shri SK Jain, Assistant Manager Finance After hearing the averments of both parties, Commission passes stricture on Shri KG Vishwanathan, Manager (Finance)/PIO and Shri Vasu Dev, Manager (HRD)/PIO who appeared before the Commission in the same matter on 24 October 2013 and provided false and misleading information to the Commission that the information sought by the appellant was held by GENCO when all along they were in fact the holders of the requested information. This has wasted the time and resources of the public authority and the Commission and they are warned to be more careful in future. The appellant is a senior citizen who has retired from the services of the public authority and has been running from pillar to post to obtain the requested information which is yet to receive even though his RTI application dated 25 February 2013 is addressed to the PIO DTL and as per the provisions of the Act, the appellant was intended to receive the requested information from the PIO within 30 days of preferring his RTI application. However more than nine months had elapsed and now the CPIO, DTL has requested for 30 more days time to trace out the information and furnish the same to the appellant. 3. Accordingly, Commission allows 30 days time from today to the CPIO/Assistant Manager Finance, and CPIO, HRD, DTL to provide the requested information to the appellant failing which they will attract penalty. 4. For the detriment and harassment caused to the appellant on account of this delay, Commission directs the public authority namely DTL to pay compensation of Rs. 3000/– to the appellant within one week of receipt of the order. (Smt. Deepak Sandhu) Chief Information Commissioner Adjunct to Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2013/001281 Appellant /Complainant : Shri S.K. Jain, New Delhi Public Authority : Delhi Transco, New Delhi (Sh.G. Srikumar, PIO/HR, Sh. Vasu Dev, PIO(HR) DTL Sh. Satya Parkash, Asstt. ) Date of Hearing : 03 December 2013 Date of Decision : 03 December 2013 Decision download: http://rti.cc/3j Here are the various discussion threads on False and misleading information: http://rti.cc/3k
  3. 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
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