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. 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?
(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.
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:
I would rephrase this as:
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.
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:
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 .....
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: