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  1. UPSIC back to its old ways LUCKNOW: UP State Information Commission (UPSIC) turns deaf to applicants' woes. Information commissioners (ICs) are refusing to hear complaints filed under section 18 of the RTI Act. Surprisingly, ICs are going against the 2010 order of the then chief information commissioner (CIC), UP, Ranjit Singh Pankaj, which directed all ICs to register and hear complaints filed by applicants using the provisions of the Act. Copies of complaints procured by TOI show that either the ICs are refusing to hear the complaints or getting them converted into first appeals thus causing further delay to applicant's bid to obtain information. "Complaints are being converted into first appeal under section 19(1) of the Act and then sent to the first appeals authority of the department. Complaint is thus disposed of in the first hearing," said RTI activist Sanjay Sharma. In that case, if first appeals authority does not respond to the appeal, applicant has no option but to move second appeal to the commission and wait for hearing. ICs, however, have a different say. UPSIC gets more complaints than appeals. Since first appeals authority is almost redundant in UP, applicants do not file appeals but complaints to get information. The reason why some of the complaints, which were filed without filing appeals, were converted into appeals, says one of the ICs. Former information commissioner, UPSIC, Gyanendra Sharma, said, "Section 18 gives more powers to UPSIC than Section 19. It should be followed in letter and spirit. Using the powers Section 18 bestows, Public Information Officers (PIOs) should be summoned with all the information and the applicant should be provided the same before the complaint is disposed of." Section 18 empowers ICs to penalize officer for delaying information to the seeker, issue summons to authorities and also initiate inquiry if the need be. Read More: UPSIC back to its old ways - The Times of India
  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!
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