Chief Information Commission Directs CPIO To Furnish Suitable Reply to Appellant Adherant to RTI Act

Facts 

The Appellant filed an RTI Application on 30th October 2018. In the application, the Appellant sought information about the valuation certificate which was issued on 11th September 2017. The PIO or Assistant Commissioner transferred the application to the APIO/TPB on 1st November 2018. The APIO/TPB didn’t respond to the RTI Application. So, the Appellant approached the FAA on 3rd December 2018. The FAA’s order on 25th April 2019 directed the APIO/TPB to provide the necessary documents within 5 days.

However, the Appellant wasn’t satisfied with the information provided to him. So, he filed for a Second Appeal on 29th May 2019.

Arguments Advanced

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The Appellant attending the hearing through an audio call. The Respondent attended the hearing through video call. The Appellant stated that no response was given to his RTI Application by the CPIO which is against the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. Moreover, the PIO didn’t comply with the date given by the FAA. Hence, the Appellant requested the Commission to take strict action against the PIO for not providing the necessary information within the stipulated period.

The Respondent apologized for the delay in providing the information. The Respondent further suggested that it would like to re-examine the RTI application filed by the Appellant and furnish a new reply which adheres to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

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The Commission questioned the Appellant as to why some of the information sought by him was not for the larger public interest. The Commission directed to not seek information that didn’t have anything to do with the larger public interest.

Court Observations 

The Court observed that the delay with the PIO to respond could affect the transparency and accountability of the public authorities which would be against the RTI Act. The Commission also referred to the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission (W.P. (C) 3845/2007) (Dated 28 April 2009) and R.K. Jain vs Union of India to understand the importance of a timely response from the PIO which would play a key role in providing accountability and transparency to the public authorities.

Decision

The Commission asked the PIO to be alert and vigilant and to be punctual in their response to the RTI Application filed by the Appellant. However, the PIO needn’t provide any information that involves only private interest. The Commission directed the PIO to furnish a new order to the RTI Application within 30 days of the date of this order.

Click here to read the judgement.


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