stay by HC on RTI decision of SIC
by, 07-13-2012 at 02:23 AM (613 Views)
Myself Dr Kul Bhushan Agnihotri. I have asked a RTI from my institute. Its detail and decision on it as follows:
STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION PUNJAB
SCO No. 84-85, SECTOR-17-C, CHANDIGARH.
Shri Kulbhushan Agnihotri,
# B-1, SBS College of Engg. & Technology,
Ferozepur. … Appellant
Public Information Officer,
o/o.(i) Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of
Engg. & Technology. Ferozepur.
(ii) FAA: Principal Secretary to Govt. Punjab,
Deptt. of Technical Education & Industrial Training,
Mini Sectt., Sector-9,
AC No. 1393 of 2011
This case was last taken up for hearing on 25th April, 2012 when, apart from the appellant Sh. Kulbhushan Agnihotri, appearance on behalf of the respondent - Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg. & Technology, Ferozepur - was put in by S/Sh. T.S. Sidhu, Principal; Vishal Arora, PIO; and R.P. Singh, former PIO while no one came present on behalf of the First Appellate Authority, and taking submissions of both the parties on record, the case was posted to date i.e. May 17, 2012 for pronouncement of the order.
Briefly, the facts relevant for the purpose of the present order are that Sh. Kulbhushan Agnihotri, the applicant-appellant, vide application dated 07.04.2011 addressed to the Principal Secretary to Government, Punjab, Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Chandigarh, sought the following information under the RTI Act, 2005:-
(i) Certified copy of all the agendas, minutes/ proceedings and action taken reports of all the meetings of Board of Governors of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg & Technology, Ferozepur, Punjab.
(ii) Certified copy of all the agendas, minutes/ proceedings and action taken reports of all the meetings of Finance Committee of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg & Technology, Ferozepur, Punjab.
(iii) Certified copy of all the agendas, minutes/ proceedings and action taken reports of all the meetings of Building & Works Committee of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg & Technology, Ferozepur, Punjab.
(iv) Certified copy of all those approvals regarding any issue which were granted by Chairman, Board of Governors singularly without convening the meeting of Board of Governors.
PIO of office of Principal Secretary, Technical Education, vide letter dated 29-04-2011, directed the Principal, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg. & Technology, Ferozepur, to provide the requisite information to the appellant direct, under intimation to his office.
Constrained by inaction of the respondent, the applicant filed first appeal before the First Appellate Authority on 28.06.2011. Vide letter No. SBS/RTI/2828 dated 22.07.2011, the respondent No. 1 college wrote to the applicant to remit a sum of Rs. 1,722/- towards additional fee / document charges along with postal charges of Rs. 100/-. When the applicant brought this fact to the notice of the First Appellate Authority, it, vide endst. No. 15/8/2011-2TE2/3711 dated 26.08.2011 directed the respondent College to provide the complete information to the applicant, free of charges, without any further delay. Respondent college even wrote back to the First Appellate Authority for prevailing upon the applicant to deposit the fee demanded by it.
The present Second Appeal before the Commission had been filed by Sh. Agnihotri on 17/21.12.2011.
In the first hearing on 13.03.2012, it was observed that passing through various stages and after exchange of number of communications among the parties, the information on first three points of the application was provided by the respondent College, vide letter No. SBS/RTI/10486 dated 01.03.2012; however, the information on point no. 4 was still pending. Directing the respondent PIO to provide the remaining information as well, the Commission called upon S/Sh. R.P. Singh, PIO; and T.S. Sidhu, Principal-cum-First Appellate Authority, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg. & Technology, Ferozepur to show cause as to why the provisions of Section 20(1)(2) of the RTI Act, 2005 be not invoked against them for wilfully delaying and denying the information sought under the Act and the inordinate delay caused and the case was adjourned to 28.03.2012.
Though in the hearing dated 28.03.2012, S/Sh. R.P. Singh, PIO; and T.S. Sidhu, Principal-cum-First Appellate Authority, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engg. & Technology, Ferozepur appeared personally and tendered their respective written explanations, it was observed that still only partial information on point no. 4 had been provided, despite clear directions from the Commission to provide complete pending information on point no. 4. Affording another opportunity to provide complete pending information to the appellant, the Principal-cum-First Appellate Authority Sh. T.S. Sidhu was directed to file a duly notarized affidavit to the effect that complete information as per the records stood provided and that no more information was available with them and the case was posted to 25.04.2012.
Undisputedly, in response to application dated 07.04.2011 submitted by Sh. Kulbhushan Agnihotri, the information on three points came to be provided by the respondent vide communication dated 01.03.2012 while response to point no. 4 was provided even later; thus causing an inordinate delay of about a year which, by no means can be said to be due to the procedures involved; and rather speaks volumes of the misdemeanour to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and the directions of the Commission issued from time to time.
The written submissions made by the applicant-appellant have also been duly considered.
Upon perusal of various documents available on record, the oral as well as written submissions made by the parties and the proceedings that have taken place so far before the Commission, it is but evident and crystal clear that such a huge delay has occurred only because of the inaction of the Principal and the careless and evasive approach adopted by him during all this time. It appears that even the PIOs were made to act as instructed by the Principal, therefore they cannot be held responsible for delay. Even in the affidavit submitted by Sh. T.S. Sidhu, he has tried to put back the blame on the applicant-appellant himself; however, it is observed that he has not been able to explain the delay caused in the year 2011 i.e. from 07.04.2011 when the application for information was submitted. He has made a desperate attempt to justify the delay only during the calendar year 2012.
Without going any more in details, the Commission recommends to the Principal Secretary to Govt. of Punjab, Department of Technical Education & Industrial Training, Mini Secretariat, Sector 9, Chandigarh to initiate disciplinary proceedings for minor misconduct under the applicable Punishment and Appeal Rules against Sh. T.S. Sidhu, Principal –cum-First Appellate Authority, at whose instance, highly delayed information has been provided to the appellant as late as 1.3.2012 while the RTI application is dated 07.04.2011, so as to avoid any such recurrence of inordinate delay in future.
In view of the foregoing coupled with the fact that information as per the original application dated 07.04.2011 stands provided to the appellant, who was even afforded opportunities for inspection of records, the case is hereby closed and disposed of.
Place: Chandigarh (B.C.Thakur)
Dated: 17.05. 2012 State Information Commissioner
Copy to Principal Secretary to Govt. of Punjab,
Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training,
Mini Secretariat, Sector 9-A, Chandigarh.
But inhis decision State Information commissioner had not provided me any compensation where as he was convinced that delay of 11 months, such a huge delay had occurred only because of the inaction of the Principal and the careless and evasive approach adopted by him during all this time. Moreover I have not received complete information from my institute. I had clearly proved to information commissioner that Principal T. S Sidhu had try his best for not inspecting me the record. Even then commissioner had closed the case.
Now I came to know from the news paper Times of India that Principal T S Sidhu had got the stay on this order where as he was not penalised acc to provision of RTi Act. copy of news paper as follows
HC stays panel's order for disciplinary action
Dinesh K Sharma, TNN | Jul 12, 2012, 06.40AM IST
FEROZEPUR: The Punjab and Haryana high court stayed the order of state information commission, which had recommended disciplinary action against the principal of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology (SBSCET) here for non-compliance of provisions of Right to Information Act.
The state information commission (SIC) on May 17, 2010 recommended to principal secretary, technical education and industrial training, to initiate disciplinary proceedings over a minor misconduct under the applicable rules against T S Sidhu, principal of SBSCET, Ferozepur, at whose instance, information was provided to the applicant as late as nearly 11 months.
In April 2011, Kulbushan Agnihotri had sought to know from the department of technical education and industrial training about the minutes and action taken reports of meetings of board of governors, finance committee, building and work committee of SBSCET, Ferozepur. The public information officer of principal secretary, technical education, directed the principal of SBSCET to provide the requisite information. However, several months later, after perusal of various documents available on record, the commission noted that the huge delay in providing information occurred because of inaction by principal and the careless and evasive approach adopted by him. "It appears that even the PIOs were made to act as instructed by the principal, and they cannot be held responsible for the delay," it noted.
Contesting the SIC order, Sidhu, now officiating as director, Shaheed Bhagat Singh State Technical Campus, Ferozepur (formerly SBSCET) approached the Punjab and Haryana high court and filed a writ petition pleading that SIC could not recommend action against first appellate authority. Pronouncing the order, justice Rajesh Bindal of the high court stayed the impugned SIC order, directing disciplinary action against the petitioner. Notice of motion to SIC has been given for October 18, 2012.
So guide me in this case
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