Central Information Commission Orders CPIO To Provide the Necessary Information

Introduction

Vanaja N. Sarna, Information Commissioner, decided the Second Appeal filed by the Appellant. The Information Commission had addressed whether the CPIO should have responded to the RTI Application. The Information Commissioner had also decided whether the information sought by the Appellant should be provided to him by the CPIO.

Facts

The Appellant filed an RTI Application on 12th February 2019. In the application, the Appellant asked for copies of rules, relevant act, directions, orders and noting sheets with regard to DSR PARA 395 and 396. The Appellant asked for rules relating to the Indian Officials Secrets Act. The Appellant also asked for copies of rules, relevant acts and noting sheets relating to Army Act Section 42(e), 52(b), 63, 40(c) and 63(a) and other related information.

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The CPIO didn’t respond to the RTI Application. Their response wasn’t on the record. The Appellant was upset because the CPIO didn’t reply to his application. So, the Appellant filed for a First appeal on 11th March 2019. The First Appellate Authority was also not on record. The Appellate was dissatisfied with the FAA due to which he filed for a Second Appeal on 31st May 2019. The grounds for the Second Appeal were that the CPIO did not provide the necessary information.

Arguments Advanced

During the hearing, the Appellant was not present. Lt. Col. Kamal Kapoor, Col. Ganesh Nagarajan and CPIO represented the Respondent side. The Respondents were present over the phone. The Appellant could not be contacted as the mobile number which was given in the file wasn’t functioning. Even the notice sent to the Appellant’s address which was about the hearing returned with the remarks “insufficient address”.

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The CPIO provided written submissions on 4rth May 2021 which showed that the desired information was vague and hypothetical due to which it cannot be provided to the Appellant. The CPIO also stated that the First Appeal filed by the Appellant was dismissed on 18th April 2019. The CPIO stated that the Appellant is requesting amplification of the law which cannot be done under the provisions of the RTI Act 2005.

Court Observation

The Commission took note of the fact that the CPIO didn’t provide a proper response to the Appellant. The Commission also went through the written submissions of the CPIO. The Commission referred to Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005 to understand if the desired information is vague and ambiguous.

Decision

The Commission stated that denying the information under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act was not justifiable. The Commission further added that the CPIO could have at least provided a proper, detailed and point-wise response to the application filed by the Appellant. The CPIO was ordered to provide a well-defined and pointwise reply to the RTI Application within 10 days from the date of the receipt of the order.

Click here to view the Judgement.


 

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