WEST BENGAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Bhabani Bhaban (2nd Floor), Alipore
Kolkata -700 027
Telefax(033)2479-1966
Website : www.wbic.gov.in
E-mail : scic-wb@nic.in
Appeal / Complaint No. 1125 (2)-WBIC/RTI/ 379/11
Right to Information Act, 2005

Shri Arun Nevatia
-Vs.-
Public Vehicles Department
Coram: Shri Sujit Kumar Sarkar,
Chief Information Commissioner

Present:
1. Shri Shyaml Chattopadhyay
Joint Director (A & A) & SPIO, PVD, Kolkata

Shri Mriganka Biswas
Joint Director (Reg), PVD, Beltola, Kolkata-20

Appellant: Absent

Date of hearing: 15.06.2011

Background:

Shri Arun Nevatia of 60/1, Chowrighee Road, 33, Alexandra Court, Kolkata-700 020 sent a letter dated 25.7.2005 to the Registering Authority, Public Vehicle Department, Kolkata intimating that he had sold Vehicle No. WB-02K 9159 to Auto Carriage Private Limited, P-101, VIP Road, Kolkata-700 059 on 11.05.2005 and had also delivered the said car on the said date. Further to that he had intimated that he had not received full payment in respect of the said car and had requested not to transfer the car in the name of Auto Carriage Private Limited or any other name without informing him. No action apparently being taken on his request Shri Nevatia submitted one RTI application on 07.08.2009 addressed to Shri Shyamal Chattopadhyay, WBA & AS Joint Director (Audit) & SPIO, PVD, Kolkata-20 requesting for the following information:-
(i) What action had been taken on his letter dated 25.07.2005.
(ii) In whose name vehicle WB-02K 9159 stood registered on that day.
(iii) If the said vehicle on that date stood registered in any other name since 11.05.2005 how many transfers had taken place in respect of the said vehicle. Replying to the RTI application of Shri Nevatia, Joint Director (A&A) & SPIO, PVD, Kolkata informed him the following:-
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1. The registration file of his vehicle No. WB-02K- 9159 was not readily traceable at that moment and accordingly some of the information / documents asked for by him in his letter dated 07.08.2009 could not be furnished to him.
2. It appears that the vehicle stood registered in the name of Shri Subir Sen, son of
S. Sen of DL 122/4 Mainak, Sector-II, Salt Lake, Kolkata-700 091.
3. As per computer records of his office only one transfer had taken place since the
quoted date. Name of Arun Nevatia was shown in ownership serial No. 1 and the name
of Subir Sen was shown in ownership serial No. 2. He also finally informed that efforts
were being made to trace out the original file on receipt of which the remaining
information /document required by him would be furnished.
II. Responding to the reply Shri Arun Nevatia wanted the following information further:-
a. What was the time limit within in which the said file would be traced out.
b. In case the said file was not traced within that time limit what would be the
procedure for reconstructing the file.
c. What was the name of the officer responsible for maintaining the said record
from the period 25.07.2005 to 13.10.2009. In case the file was not traced – what
action would be initiated against that officer.
d. Since he had raised objection regarding transfer of ownership of the said vehicle whether it was possible to cancel the transfer made so far in favour of Shri Subir Sen and if yes, what was the procedure.
e. The applicant wanted the list of all files in which the transfer of ownership had
taken place during the period from 25.07.2005 to 13.07.2009 and if any other file was also untraceable. In case any other file was untraceable the applicant wanted to know details of the same.
III. Getting no answer to his queries as above Shri Nevatia preferred his first appeal dated 22.01.2010 addressed to Shri Sumantra Chowdhury, Addl. Chief Secretary, Transport Department complaining that more than 35 days had passed from the date of receipt of his application by the SPIO and prayed for redressal of his grievances. He also enclosed a copy of his application dated 09.12.2009.
Decision:
IV. The instant matter of second appeal is taken up today for consideration. The appellant is absent. The SPIO and the Joint Director, Registration from PVD, Kolkata are present. Perused all the relevant records including RTI application, the application made subsequent
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to that for some more information, replies made by the PVD authority and the first appeal
petition made by Shri Nevatia. Heard the Joint Director (A&A) & SPIO, PVD and the Joint Director, Registration, Kolkata. The officers present admitted that they had not replied in time to the second application of Shri Nevatia purported to be a RTI application in addition to his to his original RTI application dated 07.08.2009. They informed, however, that they had replied to the second RTI application of Shri Nevatia recently by letter No. MV-126/G dated 13.06.2011 informing him that the process of locating the missing file was still in progress but it was difficult to specify any time limit for tracing out the said file. It was also informed to Shri Nevatia that for copies of documents relating to the transfer of ownership in favour of Shri Subir Sen, the present registered owner of the vehicle, Shri Sen was requested by the registering authority, PVD, Kolkata to appear with all relevant documents at their office. But till date Shri Subir Sen had not turned up or submitted any reply to their office correspondence in that regard. At point No. 3 of the reply the Joint Director (A&A) & SPIO furnished a list of six officers who had acted as the Assistant Director Registration / Special Officer Registration / Secretary RTA and Assistant Director, Registration from 04.09.2002 till date. It was further informed that cancellation of transfer of ownership could be done subject to the provisions of section 55 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Replying to his last query Shri Nevatia was informed that a list of all the files in which transfer of ownership had taken place during 25.07.2005 to 13.10.2009 had since been prepared. The total numbers of such vehicles were as high as 31, 122 and as such a soft copy in the form of CD had been prepared and was being sent to him. As the total number of files is substantially high it was difficult for them at that moment to ascertain whether any other file was untraceable. As to the request of Arun Nevatia for inspection of all relevant files in the instant matter it was informed that the concerned files contained personal pieces of information of all the concerned parties, disclosure of which would require ‘no objection’ from all of them and accordingly it was denied u/s 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act, 2005.
V. On perusal of all the relevant records and submissions by the PVD officials present it transpires that no action had been taken on the request of Shri Arun Nevatia contained in his letter dated 25.07.2005. It appears that Shri Nevatia transferred his vehicle No. WB-02K 9159 on 11.05.2005 and till the date of filing of his RTI application dated 07.08.2009 only a period of four years had elapsed.
VI. Accordingly, this Commission likes to put it on records that it was highly undesirable on the part of the PVD authority not to be able to locate a file only four years old.
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VII. Being questioned what action PVD had been made so far as proof of their sincere attempt to retrieve the file and whether they were in a position to place before the Commission any note sheet in support of that or any other supporting documents to ratify their claim of sincere attempt to trace the file the SPIO and Joint Director (A & A) and also the Joint Director, Registration said that they had already under their custody 8 to 10 lakh files lying placed under the charge and care of records suppliers. Records suppliers get transferred over years and this administrative process causes problems for ready retrieval of a missing file. However, they showed note sheets from their relevant office files showing that the matter was duly taken up and instructions were issued to the respective records suppliers, dealing assistants and head assistants for conducting thorough search for retrieving the file. The Commission has, thus, prima facie reason to be satisfied that the PVD authority was making attempts sincerely for locating the missing files to which note sheets as aforesaid and the letter dated 13. 06.2011 written by Joint Director (A&A) & SPIO to Shri Nevatia bear testimony. Finally, the Commission directs the following:-
VIII. A committee headed by Director, PVD and comprising Shri Shyamal Chattopadhyay (A&A) & SPIO and Shri Mriganka Biswas, Joint Director, Registration is to be immediately constituted to trace and retrieve the missing file within one month from the date of receipt of this order. Alongside, the same Committee will take action to reconstitute the file to proceed further for action on the basis records as will be available. This finally disposes of the instant matter of the second appeal by Sri Arun Nevatia.
Let copies of this order be forwarded to all concerned for information and necessary action. The PVD authority will send a report of compliance and the action taken in the matter at their earliest.
Sd/-
Date: 22.06.2011 ( Sujit Kumar Sarkar)
State Chief Information Commissioner, W.B.
No. 1450 (4) (Order)-WBIC/RTI/379/11 Date: 22.06.2011
Authenticated true copy forwarded to:
1. Shri Arun Nevatia, 60/1, Chowringhee Road, Block No.4, Kolkata-700 020.
2. Shri Shyamal Chattopadhyay, Joint Director (A&A) & SPIO, Public Vehicles Department, 38, Beltola Road, Kolkata-700 020 for necessary action.
3. Shri Mriganka Biswas, Joint Director (Reg), Public Vehicles Department, 38, Beltola Road, Kolkata-700 020 for necessary action.
4. Shri Arup Kumar Saha, IAS, Director, Public Vehicles Department, 38, Beltola Road, Kolkata-700 020 for necessary action.
Secretary
West Bengal Information Commission
OFFICE COPY