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Thread: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"

  1. #1
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    BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    I had sent two Express Telegrams (these days there is no option of sending ordinary Telegram) to CIC in New Delhi on 21 May 2009. Total expense for the 2 telegrams was Rs. 410.00

    The telegrams were delivered on 26 May 2009 - after 5 days.

    I filed the attached RTI with BSNL and now the PIO has replied that what I have asked is not information as defined in Sec 2(f) and is only a "customer grievance" !

    Please give some solid grounds for First Appeal.


    Attached Files Attached Files
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  2. #2

    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    BSNL is one Public Authority famous for flouting the RTI Act.
    I have similar experience.In my case, they simply sent an acknowledgement of my RTI request. Moreover, the FAA did not even bothered to give any decision.
    Finally I have preferred an appeal before the CIC, which is pending.

  3. #3
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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    The reply of PIO that the information other than points 10 and 11 is not available in material form is patently false for following reasons.

    1] The telegram delivered contains date and time of booking (or actual sending) and date and time of delivery. The recipient has to sign the acknowledgement which mentions this information.

    2] If the names and designations of employees performing designated work are not known how the responsibility can be fixed for any wrong doing at later date? Moreover in the absence of this information how the functioning of the department is monitored? Will there not be a total chaos as nobody knows who is doing what?

    I have filed a FA on the similar lines to a different PA. The outcome is awaited.

  4. #4
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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"



    Attached is the First Appeal which I have filed with the FAA of BSNL.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Twitter: @cjkarira

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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Awaiting the response from FAA.

    Please keep us posted.

  6. #6
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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Kariraji,

    Excellent draft. My brief comments:

    1. Can the PIO/PA take shelter under sections 5(4) and 5(5) and claim that 'ACPIO' is the 'deemed PIO' under these sections and hence empowered to decide and reply to RTI applications? At a bare reading, Section 5(4):
    (4) The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties.
    does not offer any clarity as to which specific tasks the PIO is permitted to delegate and which s/he isn't. Do any of the decisions you've quoted consider a situation where a written request/order signed by the PIO directing APIO or some other officer under S.5(4) to decide one or more RTI applications exists?

    Shouldn't really matter in your appeal, as you've covered both actual denial by 'ACPIO', as well as 'deemed denial' by PIO.

    2. The preamble of the Act which you quote in para 7 appears to be cut off in mid-sentence.

    3. Your Prayer clause 5 states:
    5. As per Sec 19(5) of the RTI Act 2005, during the appeal proceedings, the CPIO, should be asked to explain his “deemed” denial of request for information, since the onus to prove that the denial of request was justified, is on the CPIO.
    I would rephrase this as:
    As per Sec 19(5) of the RTI Act of 2005, during appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that denial of Information was justified lies entirely on the CPIO. It is prayed that the CPIO be asked to justify his/her denial of information, in writing and under her/his own signature, with a copy served to me at least 2 days ahead of the appeal hearing to enable me to formulate rebuttal arguments.
    Its a long shot but the idea is to create a paper record of his/her explanations. Any future tall tales about "very heavy and important other work" etc., will have to confirm to this record. I'm still working on a justification for this demand of a written reply based on "rules of natural justice".

    4. Your Special Note starts:
    1. Your attention is drawn to the contents of the Office Memorandum No. 1/3/2008-IR, dated 25 April 2008, titled “Guidelines for the Officers designated as First Appellate Authorities under the RTI Act 2005”, the relevant excerpts are quoted for your ready reference below:
    Unless you are annexing the document in question, it may be advisable to mention that this is a DoPT Office Memo No. 1/3/2008-IR .....

    regards,
    SomeGuy

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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    Kariraji,

    Excellent draft. My brief comments:

    1. Can the PIO/PA take shelter under sections 5(4) and 5(5) and claim that 'ACPIO' is the 'deemed PIO' under these sections and hence empowered to decide and reply to RTI applications? At a bare reading, Section 5(4):does not offer any clarity as to which specific tasks the PIO is permitted to delegate and which s/he isn't.

    (4) The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties.
    regards,
    SomeGuy
    1] If a PIO directs the APIO to convey the decision he (PIO) has taken to the applicant it can be treated as assistance taken u/s 5(4).

    2] If a PIO directs the APIO to take the decision and convey it to the applicant then it may be argued that PIO has used sec 5(4) to take assistance of APIO. But in this case the APIO who has taken the decision is liable for penalty as a deemed PIO.

    3] Consider a situation where the PIO goes on leave (or is preoccupied with some other official work) after receiving the application and is not in a position to discharge his duties as PIO for another 30 days (or more). In that case will it be justified not to reply the application till the PIO is in a position to discharge his duties as a PIO?
    Will it not be in conformity with letter and spirit of the RTI Act that PIO has directed the APIO to take decision and convey it to applicant within 30 days?

  8. #8
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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Actually, I was very preoccupied with work for the last 2 weeks and was in a hurry to send this First Appeal before the due date. It has been sent as it is.

    Someguy,

    1. No, none of the decisions quoted/cited were in a situation where the PIO was on leave or used Sec 5(4) to seek assistance of the APIO. In my case, it is clear that the matter is delegated to the APIO for reply. I have given it as a ground for appeal. Let the PIO defend his actions the way he wants, during the first appeal hearing.

    2. , 3. and 4. Well noted but was in a real hurry. In fact did only one quick proof reading. Hence all those errors.

    Rajendra,

    1. The PIO cannot ask anyone to convey any decision on his behalf. The responsibility is his and his alone. Normal office procedure does not apply. In fact, in this case, I had a real hard time getting to know even the name of the payee on the IPO as well as submitting the application in person.

    2. APIO cannot take any decision on his own. Decision to disclose, not disclose and the actual disclosure has to be done only by the PIO.

    3. In such a situation the PA is absolutely free to designate another officer as the PIO - till the original PIO comes back or is ready to take on responsibility.

    In any case, as the cited KSIC decision shows, the appointment of the APIO in the head office itself is illegal.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  9. #9

    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Good Morning Karira,
    BSNL has not provided any traing to its officer through out the country for RTI Act. This has been informed by BSNL to me under RTI. Under these circumstances, how we can expect a proper response from them. Moreover to hide the misdeed of their employees and to save themselves from compensation etc. they can play any dirty game with us WE THE PEOPLE.
    Please go ahead with the process under RTI and for the final hearing at CIC ,I offer my assistance to you.
    BIMAL KUMAR KHEMANI
    a CONSUMER and RTI activist
    ALIGARH, U.P.
    ****************************
    Officially Certified A Grade by DoPT

    ****************************

  10. #10
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    Re: BSNL says my application does not ask for "information" and is "customer grievance"


    Quote Originally Posted by karira View Post
    1. No, none of the decisions quoted/cited were in a situation where the PIO was on leave or used Sec 5(4) to seek assistance of the APIO. In my case, it is clear that the matter is delegated to the APIO for reply. I have given it as a ground for appeal. Let the PIO defend his actions the way he wants, during the first appeal hearing.
    As already noted, you've covered both cases of actual denial by 'ACPIO', as well as 'deemed denial' by PIO; so its only a minor issue in your case. And of course, any officer participating in the process who claims authority through S.5(4) becomes a 'deemed PIO' under S.5(5) and hence liable to penalties.

    The issue will become important only at the stage of determining penalty, if any. I presume that 'deemed denial' through non-response would be harder to justify than actual denial, even if on completely flimsy grounds. It is quite possible that PIO and 'ACPIO' will produce a (pre-dated) letter from the former authorizing the latter under S.5(4) to act on his/her behalf, thereby attempting to legitimize the action of both.

    2. , 3. and 4. Well noted but was in a real hurry. In fact did only one quick proof reading. Hence all those errors.
    2. is trivial and 3. was but a suggestion, not an error. You might want to submit an "amendment application" for 4. though, or at least take copies of the whole DoPT memo to the hearing.

    Rajendra,
    1. The PIO cannot ask anyone to convey any decision on his behalf.
    Here we come back to S.5(4). Can we make a distinction that the section contemplates only "assistance" and not "delegation"? It is therefore not permissible for the PIO to wash his hands completely off of his statutory responsibilities and saddle someone else (the peon?) with them. He is still required to take the final decision on the matter at his level and to convey it to the applicant under his own signature.

    I am actually ambivalent about this particular argument. One of the most common excuses offered by PIOs is of "very heavy and important other work", to which the obvious answer is - "OK, then you should have delegated your PIO duties to someone else in the office under 5(4)". If it is accepted by a majority of IC's that the degree of such assistance/delegation is limited, then this answer too gets correspondingly blunted.

    regards,
    SomeGuy

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