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  1. The First Appellate Authority (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. The RTI applicant complained that the First Appellate Authority sent hearing notices and when he went to his office, he would not facilitate the hearing. The hearing of the first appeal was postponed for 5 times because of which he has to suffer lot of inconvenience and lose all working days. Information Commission noted that this reflect a non ­serious attitude towards the first appeal hearing and amount to violation of statutory provisions which is limiting the period of hearing to 45 days and passed the order that after giving the due notice of hearing, 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. The RTI Act, 2005 provides the first appeal before the designated senior officer of the same Public Authority, with a view to provide a quick hearing and address the problems/grievance, if any, and clarify the doubts of the RTI applicant. Compelling the appellant to take 5 rounds for just first appeal was not proper. The Public Authority has a responsibility under the RTI Act to conclude the hearing. Presence of RTI Applicant Sh. Ashok Kumar RTI Applicant submitted that through his three RTI applications dt. 8­10­2012, 8­ 10­2012 and 20­10­2012 to SDM(Hauz Khas/Mehrauli) , GNCTD, he is seeking information regarding the procedure for issue of SC Certificate, OBC certificate and the Birth Certificate and other related details. The PIO replied in all the three appeals on 27­11­2012, 7­11­2012 and 16­11­2014 providing the information. The appellant made first appeals in all the three cases, whereby the FAA by his orders all dated 8­3­2013 disposed of the three appeals stating that the PIO/SDM(HK) has given the reply to the appellant and as the appellant did not appear before him during the hearing, he has nothing to say in the matter. Extracts of Decision (as available in the CIC website here!) The appellant complained that the First Appellate Authority sent hearing notices and when he went to his office, he would not facilitate the hearing. The hearing of the first appeal was postponed for 5 times because of which he has to suffer lot of inconvenience and lose all working days. The Commission recommends the FAA to take notices of hearing seriously and hear the appeal on the day scheduled without adjourning the same unless there is a compelling reason. Differing the first appeal 5 times in this case, reflect a non­serious attitude towards the first appeal hearing. The RTI Act, 2005 provides the first appeal before the designated senior officer of the same Public Authority, with a view to provide a quick hearing and address the problems/grievance, if any, and clarify the doubts of the RTI applicant. Compelling the appellant to take 5 rounds for just first appeal is not proper. The Public Authority has a responsibility under the RTI Act to conclude the hearing. The appellant submitted that the first date fixed was 2­1­2013 and finally it was heard on 5­3­ 2013. This shows that the First Appellate Authority has taken more than 45 days and made the appellant to visit his office 5 times. This will amount to violation of statutory provisions which is limiting the period of hearing to 45 days. Relevant Portion of the Section is reproduced hereunder – Section 19 Appeal:­ “(1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub­section (1) or clause (a) of sub­section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority: Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. (6) An appeal under sub­section (1) or sub­section (2) shall be disposed of within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of forty­five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing. “ The Public authority is expected to avoid such things. Ultimately it is not known whether the FAA has passed any order or not. The FAA order dt. 8­3­2013 shown to the Commission today during the hearing, reveals that because the appellant did not appear, the FAA assumed that he has nothing to say and thus the appeal was disposed of. The Commission recommends that after giving the due notice of hearing, 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. 5. In view of the above, the respondent authority is directed to facilitate inspection of the record to the appellant in all the three cases, so that he can see the files which provide for procedure available and requirements for procuring SC certificate/OBC Certificate/Birth Certificate and he can seek photo copies, which can be given, on payment of costs. Inspection may be facilitated within 2 weeks from the date of receipt of this order. You should read the blog post here to know more about the presence of applicant in front of First Appellate Authority here: Is it Mandatory to appear for Hearing by First Appellate Authority? Do you have anything to add to the above decision. Please post it in the comments below, or if you want to ask our experts a question, head straight to our forum and ask. Here is the link to our forum!
  2. On asking for information regarding the mutation of title of the shop in the revenue records, the district collector has never made any effort to supply the needed information to the RTI applicant. CIC noted that it was the duty of the DC to explain the procedure by which mutation can be done and they should have forwarded the RTI application to the concerned PIO, instead of directing the applicant to file fresh application before the L&DO, Nirman Bhavan. Through his RTI application, the RTI applicant sought information regarding Nand Flower Shop located in the premises of Birla Mandir, Mandir Marg – regarding the mutation of title of that shop in the revenue records of the respondent office. PIO replied on 2982012. Being unsatisfied with the order of PIO the appellant preferred First Appeal. FAA Vide his order dated 1892012 disposed of the appeal with the observations that he should take up with Land & Development Office at Nirman Bhavan by filing a fresh application. CIC recorded that the authority was negligent until the date of the hearing of second appeal. Except asking the appellant for a copy of the 2nd appeal by a letter, which he is showing to the Commission, the respondent officer has never made any effort to supply the needed information to the appellant. It is the duty of the respondent authority to explain the procedure by which mutation can be done and they should have forwarded the RTI application to the concerned PIO, instead of directing the appellant to file fresh application before the L&DO, Nirman Bhavan. The authority was directed to supply information to the applicant explaining the procedure by which mutation can be done within 2 weeks from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission also directs the PIO to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed for restricting the furnishing of the information which the appellant has a right to receiv The decision can be read here. The content of this case has been taken from the CIC decision available over CIC website. You can find many discussions on this issue at our forums. Please participate if you have questions! The link to forum is here.
  3. The RTI applicant filed an RTI to obtain information of how many illegal diesel buses are stopped and action taken against them by Transport Deptt, GNCTD, Delhi. Transport Department replied with a general order stating that the Enforcement Branch is taking action against the buses as and when violation of the rules is done by the private buses. But the Central Information Commission while hearing the second appeal observed that this is a general order, not the specific reply to the RTI applicant complaint about which the applicant has sought information. According to RTI Applicant Mr. Kuldeep Singh the diesel buses cannot enter within 90 Kms of Delhi, but still they are plying in Delhi. According to him there are no authority stopping them and the case of Nirbhaya is one such example. Diesel buses cannot enter within 90 Kms of Delhi The case can be read here: Sh. Kuldeep Singh Vs. Transport Deptt, Delhi The RTI applicant sought certified copy of inspection report, FIR copy , copy of note sheet of officials on dereliction of duties, etc. Being unsatisfied with the reply of PIO, the appellant preferred First Appeal. FAA by his order dt. 28­01-2013 dismissed the appeal with the observation that the appellant may inform Enforcement Branch if he still notices such vehicles plying illegally to assist Enforcement Branch. This article has been created from the decision posted over CIC website. If you have any information about the legal provisions of the bus in Delhi, do let us know. There are many discussions on the issue of Section 3 and Section 19 (3) over forum.
  4. As per the Delhi Education Act, blood relations cannot be more than one in the Governing body of the school. On a basis of complaint, Directorate of Education had inspected G.D.Soni D.A.V. Senior Secondary School, Pusa Road, New Delhi in reference to the constitution of its governing body. An RTI applicant sought action taken on the special inspection conducted by the Directorate of Education on the complaint. Not satisfied by response, applicant approached CIC who asked Directorate of education to explain whether there was any action taken against the said school for having two real brothers as executive members of the Governing body The RTI Applicant has alleged that as one person, who retired as Additional Director of Education, is included in the said governing body of the School, the Directorate of Education is hesitant to go strict against the School. The appellant submitted that through his 1st RTI application dt. 22­11­2012, he is seeking information as to action taken on the special inspection conducted by the Directorate of Education on the complaint dated 16­-8-­2010 on which PIO replied on 10-12 2012 . Two real brothers Being unsatisfied with the reply of PIO, the appellant preferred First Appeal. Having received no reply from the First Appellate Authority within the prescribed period, the appellant has approached the commission in Second Appeal. Central Information Commission had passed the order to the Directorate of Education directing them to explain whether there was any action taken against the said school for having two real brothers as executive members of the Governing body. The case is available here at CIC website! There are numerous discussions over our forum in reference to School and RTI here!
  5. Whether a school is public authority or private body, it has a duty Under sections 4 and 8 of Delhi Education Act 1973, to abide by the regulatory conditions of service, payment of salaries as prescribed, etc for which the school has to maintain the records, which provide an inherent and implied right to information to their employees. Under Right to Education Act 2009 also the recognized school is under an obligation to appoint eligible teachers and provide them prescribed wages. This also reveals that it has given inherent right to information to the teachers from their employers. If the RTI applicant in her capacity as ex-employee of the school has right to information under any legislation such as Delhi Education Act, that will fall under the purview of section 2(f) of the RTI Act which gives the PIO, Appellate authority and the Information Commissioner, power to enforce her right to information. This was decided by Chief Information commission in the latest decision available here. The RTI appellant submitted that through his RTI application, she is seeking copies of her appointment letter issued by Jindal Public School, staff statement of all the employees, acquaintance roles (PBR), certified copy of her service book, etc. She sought copy of her service book which is maintained by the school and the school claims that it would not fall under RTI Act. CIC stated that as an employee/former employee of the school, he / she has every right to information about her service book, leave record, appointment details and any other information pertaining to her service. CIC directed the school to discharge their obligation under law by furnishing the information sought by the teacher to the school authority, who in turn is directed to provide the same to her within 21 days. You can participate in the numerous discussions on such issues at our forum here What is your reaction? Comment below!
  6. In a utter disrespect to the RTI Act SDM of Alipur, New Delhi repeatedly claimed that he does not have information and suggested to RTI applicant to approach some other office for information on the number of lanes in the village Khera Kalon and their width at present compared to the width of the same in 1975 etc records the CIC. First appellate authority (FAA) by his order had even directed the PIO/SDM(Alipur) to give clear and categorical reply to points within one week. As the FAA order was not complied with the RTI applicant filed the 2nd appeal before the information Commission. During the hearing the appellant was absent. The Public Authority was represented by Satish Kumar, CO(Alipur) O/o SubDivisional Magistrate(Alipur), GNCTD, Delhi. FACTS Through his RTI application dt. 10102012, the appellant has sought information regarding the number of lanes in the village Khera Kalon and their width at present compared to the width of the same in 1975 etc. PIO replied on 261 12012. Being unsatisfied with the order of PIO, the appellant preferred First Appeal. FAA by his order dated 17122012 directed the PIO/SDM(Alipur) to give clear and categorical reply to point Nos. 1,2,5,7 and 11 within one week. As the FAA order was not complied with the appellant filed the 2nd appeal before the Commission. After hearing the submissions made by the respondent, the Commission observes that FAA also concluded that reply of PIO was neither categorical nor proper. The PIO's reply in March 2012 after FAA's order, is a repetition of earlier answer claiming that he does not have information and suggesting to approach some other office for this information. This is a disrespect to the RTI Act and FAA order. The Commission, therefore, directed the PIO not only to comply with the FAA order within one week from the date of receipt of this order but also directed to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed for the noncompliance of FAA order by SDM. Source of information- CIC decision uploaded on the website. The decision can be read from here
  7. Delhi Transport corporation (DTC) uploads wrong information about bus route which mislead Lt Governor's office, GNCTD, Delhi. This was uncovered when Sh. Ankit Agarawal through his RTI application dt. 16102012, sought information regarding his complaint registered with the call centre on 3082012 about some DTC bus route No.181A – whether the said route bus passes through Satyavati College, and the information uploaded by the respondent office is wrong. PIO replied on 31102012 which was upheld by the FAA vide his order 7122012.CIC heard the submissions made by the Lt Governor's office, GNCTD, Delhi. The Lt Governor's office, GNCTD, Delhi office submitted that it is the DTC which has uploaded the said information on the website. The Commission, therefore, directed the PIO, Delhi Transport Corporation to give information to the appellant as to why such a wrong information was uploaded into the website, which resulted in misleading the respondent/LG Office. It was further directed that the information should be provided to the appellant within 21 days from the receipt of this order. The order can be downloaded from here! Here is one such discussion available over our forum, kindly follow the link to read!
  8. 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
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