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IOC spends over Rs 17,000 to contest RTI; provides info free

Atul Patankar

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Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 21 June 2009


NEW DELHI: Cash-rich public sector oil company Indian Oil has overcharged an RTI applicant and spent a sum of Rs 17,521 to unsuccessfully defend its stand while it could have resolved the matter for a meagre Rs 102.


The case pertains to an RTI applicant, Rajesh Madhok, who asked for some information from Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Chandigarh.


The PIO of the oil company asked Madhok to pay Rs 10 per page for the 51-page information against the stipulated norm of Rs two per page under the RTI Act, which was challenged by him in the Central Information Commission.


In an order of April 2009, the CIC asked the IOC to provide the information free of cost to Madhok after the two sides explained their sides of the story.


To attend the CIC hearing, the IOC had deputed two senior officials-- DGM (Retail Sales), Chief Manager (LPG sales) of IOC -- along with the Law officer to Delhi from Chandigarh on a flight and train respectively, which incurred an expenditure of Rs 17,521.


"I got the travel expenditure of these IOC officials after I submitted an RTI application to the oil company," Hyderabad-based RTI activist CJ Karira said.


Source: IOC spends over Rs 17,000 to contest RTI; provides info free - India Business - Business - The Times of India

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Actually the response also revealed:


1. A copy of the Notice of Hearing was not provided since it was never received by the IOC. It seems the 3 officers went all the way to Delhi since they were informed about the hearing by the applicant !

2. That none of the 3 officers attending the hearing, were either the PIO or the FAA.

3. IOC said that the 3 officers were also attending to some Official work in Delhi. Most probably this was an afterthought, since 2 of the officers who travelled by Air from Chandigarh to Delhi and on the return trip did not spend the night in Delhi. Once can see from the Air Schedule of that day and easily conclude that it was impossible for them to get any time in Delhi to attend to "other official work".

4. The query whether anyone in IOC is aware of attending CIC hearings via Audio or Video Conferencing was never answered. However, the PIO did inform that out of 170 hearings pertaining to IOC till now, in the CIC, none of them have ever been attended by audio/video conferencing.

5. The PIO was not aware as to how many of these 170 hearings were actually attended by the PIO or the FAA or by "other" officers.


A copy of the RTI Application and the reply received is attached to this post.

Indian Oil RTI application and reply.pdf

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The CPIO is the Executive Director (HR) of New Delhi Office and FAA is the Executive Director (HR) of Mumbai office. It seems that FAA is equal in rank to the CPIO. Isn't this a violation of the RTI Act?

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