Central Information Commission Dismisses Complaint, Says There is No Proof of CPIO Not Fulfilling Duties

Amita Padova, Information Commissioner had decided the complaint filed by the Complainant. In this order, the Tribunal had checked the validity of the complaint filed by the Complainant.

Facts 

The Complainant filed an RTI Application on 12th April 2019 seeking information from the National Highways Authority of India. However, the Complainant didn’t receive any response from the CPIO. The Complainant didn’t file for a First Appeal but approached the Central Information Commission with an instant complaint. The complaint was filed under Section 18 of the RTI Act 2005 on the ground of the non-receipt of information from the CPIO.

Arguments Advanced

Som Chand Gupta, the Complainant that took part in the hearing through his phone. Shri Pankaj Mishra, PIO/Project Director and PIU-Kanpur represented the Respondents side and took part in the hearing through their phone.

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The Complainant stated that from the day when he had filed the RTI Application till the day of the hearing, he had not received any information from the CPIO. The Complainant had requested the Central Information Commission to direct the CPIO to provide the desired information and to take legal action against the CPIO for not responding to the RTI Application. He also requested the Bench to provide him with compensation for the damage caused to him by the Respondent.

The Respondent side sent their written submission to the Tribunal on 20th May 2021. In the written submission, the Respondent had stated that a reply was provided to the Complainant on 20th April 2019.

Court Observation

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The Central Information paid heed to the grounds for the complaint filed by the Complainant under Section 8 of the RTI Act 2005. The Tribunal had also looked into the written submissions sent to it by the Respondents. On further investigation, the CIC believes that all the necessary information had been provided to the Complainant by the Respondent on 20th April 2019. The Tribunal had also relied on the Supreme Court dated 12.12.2011 in Central Information Commissioner vs. State of Manipur in which it was stated that Section 18 of the RTI Act 2005 only allowed the CIC to punish the CPIO due to which it cannot direct the CPIO to provide the necessary information. However, before taking such action against the CPIO, the Information Commissioner should be satisfied that the CPIO hadn’t fulfilled its duties.

Decision

The Central Information stated that Section 18 of the RTI Act 2005 cannot provide any access to the desired action. The Tribunal further stated that it was satisfied with the response provided by the CPIO on 20th May 2021. Hence, the instant complaint had been disposed of.


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