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Reconstitution of Records by Public Authority for replying to an RTI Query in case of P.I.O c laiming their non-availability in response to RTI Querie


SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI

Pl. let us know how to proceed in such cases? Have to move to High Court first to get the orders for reconstitution of missing records and then again confront the CIC with High Court"s order to that effect. In short, how should one go about constructing such case to get the requested records claimed 'missing' by the P.I.O of a Public Authority and the FAA and the CIC both condoning the callously casual attitude of the P.I.O in withholding the records and the information claiming them to be missing. As there are so many cases of this type it will help lot of information seekers who have thus been cheated by PIOs who claimed non availability of the requested records with impunity and the CIC condoning their act. I can cite at least four such cases. It will be of much help if the whole procedure is described in detail for our information and taking necessary action, when confronted with such a situation-SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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Prasad GLN

Except for filing a petition for reconstruction of records while filing second appeal before CIC, we can not expect any thing from CIC when PIO states information is not available.

This problem exists with CIC also. When second appeal is pending, the entire file connected was weeded out by PIO and FAA has agreed with CPIO that information can not be furnished as file was weeded out.

Atleast in case of RTI Application, reconstruction of file is simplel as they can direct PIO to furnish certified copies of RTI Application, information provided to Appellant, copy of first appeal and appellate orders. But CIC is not reluctunt to do this, and simply state that file is weeded out (Matter of 2012and matter pending).

Except for going to Court, a normal person can not do anything more. Actually one can seek circular on preservation of records, names of the official responsible etc., but unless information is financially viable and important, common applicants rarely use other alternatives.

One can file Police case for missing of files, if concealment and suppression is doubted but rarely citizen goes for such severe action. RTI Act is silent on such missing records information.

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dr.s.malhotra

very significant Judgments in cases of reported missing records - these can give sleepless nights to mischievous amongst the RTI officers

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Prasad GLN
very significant Judgments in cases of reported missing records - these can give sleepless nights to mischievous amongst the RTI officers

PIOs are as smarter than applicants as they are aware of the latest things when compared to RTI appliant who makes application once or twice. Even when the specific orders are known to them and even when judgments have been enclosed with appeals, FAA never considers the same (no exception to CIC) and if specifically prayed, IC may consider and order for such reconstruction and even this is on his mercy. If the records are really missing then only concerned (Not PIO) spends sleepless nights, but if it is a pretext to evade providing informtion, this is just a game to them.

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI

"Give sleepless nights to mischievous RTI officers" Good Idea Dear Mr. Malhotra ,but you cannot achieve your pious objective without first subjecting yourself to spending,not only many more sleepless nights, but restless days as well, in the process of agitating your genuine matters before the Hon'ble High Court and/or the Supreme court. That fact underlines the total uselessness of this much touted legislation so far as common people are concerned. And do you have that deep pockets to sustain your case before these august bodies for any length of time. Even if you have, you will be better advised to spend your inheritance on some worthy cause. Say for example, pamper your family members and friends by taking them to Ashoka for the dinner for a week followed by a Bharat Darshan tour in 1st ACC. They will shower you will blessings and dream favours. Should the P.I.O or FAA be allowed to trifle with important official records as are classified 'Permanent', say Service Book and leave Account of an employee very much alive and kicking? Would not such an info. seeker be feeling cheated by first by the Act itself and then by the FAA and IC - shielding and parroting his false excuses,of course in a different way and language, like a caged parrot; totally denying justice to the Info. Seeker at their level itself. The legislation must necessarily equip them to do full justice without fear or favour so that no body is required to knock the doors of higher courts of justice in quest of justice, as of now a completely elusive commodity so far as common citizenry is concerned. While much is wanting in the Act itself, much more is in the mental bureaucratic attitude of FAAs and ICs. Anyway thanks for taking pains to make us richer than before in the knowledge of the Act. -SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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Prasad GLN

Mr.Sanjog Maheswari is quite true. When we face opposition or feel being cheated, we spend sleepless nights with tension and rage and can not forget , knowing fully well that we can not alone fight with a system. So as they are different, they have become great.

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI

An alarmingly increasing number of PIOs are taking this most convenient escape route claiming non-availability of records. I, for one, am yet to hear about any such case where either FAA or IC has ordered "Reconstitution or reconstruction of records" in response to the P.I.O's lame excuse with reg. to non-availability of records even though it is common knowledge that there is no original record in any govt. department which cannot be reconstituted or reconstructed on the basis and with the help of easily available collateral evidence or document(s) in the Department; only the willingness to go an extra mile to help matters and strengthen the RTI Act, is missing which, in turn, leads to the "missing records pleas" increasingly being resorted to by the dodging P.I.Os. It is unfortunate that they receive undeserved sustenance and support from the FAAs and ICs as it leads to easy disposal of such cases at their level. I strongly feel that FAAs have the power and competence to order Reconstitution and/or Reconstruction of all Records if claimed 'missing'. While the Act implicitly vests them with it, so far not a single IC has utilized this power and competence, let alone the FAAs. This certainly does not augur well for the Act which is now more than eight years old! with a record number of cases "decided?" at the level of ICs. Why should they expect the poor Info.Seeker to knock the doors of Hon'ble High Court or Supreme Court for that simple matter-"Reconstitution of missing records"? I am dismayed when informed that Hon'ble High Court etc. had to be approached to get appropriate orders in this regard by the Info. Seeker when such a direction to the PIO should have been issued at FAA's level itself under due intimation to the Info. Seeker? Why the burden of doing everything is thrown at the poor Info. Seeker? I feel the Higher Judiciary should have taken a stern view of such sorry state of affairs on being confronted with such cases which should and could have easily been decided at the level of FAA enjoying full powers to order "Reconstitution of Records." IT will further facilitate matters if an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and above or Head of the Department is appointed as FAA. There is nothing to elate about if the authority either of Hon'ble High Court or Supreme Court has to be invoked for such a simple matter as "Reconstitution or Reconstruction of Records on the basis of collateral or such other evidence as are available in every Govt. Office/Department on every official matter. There is no Govt. Record which cannot be Reconstituted or Reconstructed provided the claim of 'missing records' is treated with the utmost contempt and scorn it deserves and certainly not admitted as a valid excuse providing safe escape route for the PIOs which now is being increasingly resorted to by them- the PIOs working with a "devil-may-care" attitude. Very few of such P.I.Os have been meted out the punishment they so richly deserve for making such lame excuses -SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI

IN CONCLUSION: The conclusion drawn by the Jain Commission, as early as in 1998, in a similar but different context is relevant here as well. Paraphrased to be relevant to the above context it would read: "Since the Acts and the rules neither recognize current realities nor do they facilitate 'Compliance', there is a tendency to evolve mechanisms which are not in the interests of info-seekers, Public authorities or even the Information Commissioners. Harassment and circumvention emerge as the key conduct....."there is no real deterrence and effective enforcement for the benefit of society in general and the average citizen in particular". The of-repeated clich: "The rules are made for fools" holds good particularly in the context of Indian democratic arrangement of the State's Affairs -SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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SANJOG MAHESHWARI

I confronted a friend of mine with the above issue. I want to share the information given by him with MY friends HERE. The tribe of PIOs, strongly supported by that of FAAs and ICs, claiming non-availability of the records, is increasing by the day. The Act has been reduced to an object of abject mockery. Almost 90% of the Info.seekers feel cheated at the end of the day. Recently, the Hon'ble Delhi High seems to have provided some solace. In their Judgment in Union of India versus Vishwas Bhamburkar WP © 3660/2012 & CM 7664/2012 (stay) matter they directed that a thorough and meaningful inquiry "be carried out by an OFFICER NOT BELOW THE RANK OF JOINT SECRETARY TO THE GOVT. OF INDIA" in all cases where the 'Records missing" is claimed by the PIOs /FAAs. The Info.seekers may try out this remedy as well. It could be efficacious to some extent. May God with you..-SANJOG MAHESHWARI

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Prasad GLN

Members may try alternate ways. In every public authority, sufficient copies are made to different higher authorities or parallel depts., concerned with issue.

When records with a particular dept.., of that office is not available (truth or not it is difficult to establish in short time), understand procedure and probability of copies being made to other higher authorities, and try to file RTI Application to that higher/controlling authority in the name of a different person and try, as it do not cost more than Rs.50/- But RTI applications has to be designed in such a way that it should not find a route back to original PIO.

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