CENTRAL IINFORMATION COMMISSION
Dated, the 16th November 2006
Name of the Appellant:
Shri Sharat Chandra Agarwal,
2284, Raja Park, Rani Bagh,
Delhi â€“ 110 034.
Name of the Public Authority Ministry of Railways, Railway Board, New Delhi.
The Appellant, Shri Sharat Chandra Agarwal, Delhi, while travelling from
Hyderabad to New Delhi in A-1 Coach on 1st January 2004 by train No.2723, found the air conditioning in the AC coach not functioning properly. The coach was so cold that many of the passengers were almost shivering. Shri Agarwal stated that along with him two other passengers had made a complaint in writing to this effect. After coming back, Shri Agarwal sought from the PIO, Railway Board, information on various issues connected with air conditioning in Railway coaches and also asked for compensation arguing that since he had paid the full fare he should have full comfort.
2. In his reply to Shri Agarwalâ€™s application, the PIO of the Railway Board
vide his letter dated 22nd May 2006 gave technical details about the codal life of the coach. In the meantime, Shri Agarwal also received a letter from the Railway Authorities in which they admitted that the particular coach was â€˜marginally coolerâ€™ because of low occupancy on that particular day.
3. Not satisfied with these technical aspects. Shri Agarwal filed his first
Appeal before the Additional Member, Railway Board, New Delhi, on 29th May 2006. The Appellate Authority directed the PIO to provide Shri Agarwal
supplementary information, but denied any possibility of refund. At this, Shri
Agarwal moved a second appeal to this Commission. The Commission fixed the hearing for 7th November 2006.
4. The Respondents were represented by Shri B.L. Meena, Executive Director (PG) & PIO and Shri J.S.P. Singh of the Electrical Department, Railway Board while the Appellant Shri Sharat Chandra Agarwal was present in person.
5. The bench of Dr. O.P. Kejariwal, Information Commissioner, heard the
6. During the hearing, the Respondents admitted the genuineness of the
complaint but also explained that the comfort range of the air conditioning
system varies from person to person and according to them on that particular day the temperature in the coach was within the comfort range. This, however, was somewhat contrary to what the Railway authorities had said in writing that on that particular day the coach indeed was marginally cooler and the reason they gave was of low occupancy in that particular coach.
7. The Railway authorities during the hearing also admitted that there were
other instances when the passengers had complained of the malfunctioning of the A.C units in the Railway coaches.
8. After hearing both the parties, the Commission felt that as for the issue
of compensation to Shri Agarwal, the Consumer Forum was the more appropriate agency. However, since as the complaint was genuine, the
Commission directed the Railway authorities to consider measures whereby the AC system could be substantially improved.
9. The Railways should examine this entire matter and inform the commission of the steps they intend to take to remove such complaints in
future by February end.
10. The Commission ordered accordingly.
Authenticated true copy:
(Pankaj K.P. Shreyaskar)
Chandigarh, April 1: In a recent judgement, the office of the State Information Commission, Punjab (SICP) has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Public Information Officer (PIO) on his failure to provide information to the complainant within the stipulated period of 30 days under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The two-member Bench of State Information Commissioners P.P.S. Gill and R.K. Gupta has taken serious cognisance of the fact that despite orders from the Commission, the required information was not supplied within the prescribed time period.
Gurdial Singh, Finance Secretary, Pensioners, Ludhiana, had sought information from the PIO, Director of Employment, Punjab, regarding some recruitments since 2004, but even after over two months, Prem Singh, Under Secretary, PIO, along with Harbans Sharma, Employment Officer, and Harjit Singh, Senior Assistant, failed to provide the information.
Even when Gurdial Singh approached the Commission in December, the PIO failed to comply. On March 16, the respondent, on behalf of the PIO, told the Commission that the information has been dispatched by them on March 12. However, the complainant denied having received any information and nor could the respondent produce any documentary proof.
The Commission not only imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the PIO, but also ordered that compensation be paid to Gurdial Singh for harassment. Since he had to come from Ludhiana to attend five hearings, the respondent department has been ordered to pay Rs 500, along with Rs 500 as diet charges, for five days to Gurdial Singh.
A spokesman of the Commission said this is first time in the country that a commission of any state has provided harassment and diet charges.
Complainant gets compensation under RTI Act