• 4 yrs on, CIC to hear RTI plea today

      4 yrs on, CIC to hear RTI plea today

      as reported by Hemlata Verma in Express India, May 24, 2010

      Application shuttled between SIC and CIC in confusion over second appellant authority

      It took nearly four years for an appeal filed under the Right to
      Information Act to find the appropriate authority for its hearing. The
      confusion over who will hear a second appeal against the reply filed
      by the central public information officer (CPIO) and the accountant
      general of Himachal Pradesh (a Central government office ) took four
      years to settle, even though the law is clear on the fact that such a
      matter comes under the jurisdiction of the Central Information

      After the RTI application filed by one O P Goyal of Shimla shuttled
      between the State Information Commission and the Central Information
      Commission, the latter has finally decided to hear the matter on May
      24, through video-conferencing.

      Goyal had filed an application before the CPIO of the AG Office,
      Shimla, in July 2006 to seek copies of the report of `audit inquiry'
      ordered by the principal accountant general (PAG), based on his
      complaint against the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation
      (HPTDC) in May 2006.

      The reply received by Goyal said the AG office is governed by Articles
      149 to 151 of the Constitution of India and it presents its audit
      findings before the state legislature only. In the next step, the same
      reply was repeated by the first appellant authority — the Principal AG
      — along with copies of certain audit paras prepared by the AG in the
      matter raised in Goyal's complaint.

      "As I was not given the audit inquiry that was based on my complaint,
      I went for a second appeal to the CIC. Joint Secretary and Additional
      Registrar, CIC, Nisha Singh wrote back in December 2006 that the
      matter pertains to a state subject and the SIC."

      When he approached the SIC, it turned down the appeal saying the
      matter came under the jurisdiction of the CIC.

      Goyal re-filed his appeal to the CIC in February 2007 and the SIC also
      wrote to the CIC to take it up.

      Finally, the CIC's Additional Registrar D C Singh got back to Goyal on
      April 24, 2010, saying: "After consultation with the CAG, the
      commission has decided to hear the matter."

      RTI expert and former state law secretary J N Barowalia says: "The Act
      is very clear that any matter of second appeal against the appellant
      authority of the Central government office or institution shall come
      under the jurisdiction of the CIC. The confusion was uncalled for."

      Comments 2 Comments
      1. smbhappy's Avatar
        smbhappy -
        This is another example of our bureucratic attitude.
      1. sidmis's Avatar
        sidmis -
        RTI applicant gets nod to examine records
        as reported by Express News Service 25 2010, Shimla

        After four years, CIC hears case

        An applicant’s wait for information sought under Right to Information (RTI) Act from the office of the accountant general, Shimla, four years ago, finally ended with the intervention of the Chief Information Commission.

        The CIC on Monday gave orders to the principal accountant general, Himachal Pradesh, to let applicant O P Goyal examine the original documents sought by him and also furnish him a copy. Information Commissioner A N Tiwari passed the order from Delhi after hearing the case through video conferencing. The appellant, his counsel K S Samkria and the Deputy A G (Administration) L R Sharma heard the case from the state Secretariat in Shimla.

        Goyal had sought the original copy of a report prepared by a three-member audit team after examination of documents of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

        The last reply Goyal had received was in 2006 from the first appellant authority (Principal A G) who had said that the AG office was governed by Articles 149 to 151 of the Constitution and it presents its audit findings before the state legislature only. It had also given copies of certain audit paragraphs prepared by the AG in the matter raised in Goyal’s complaint, but was not specific.

        “After the decision is conveyed in written by the CIC, we will again approach it with plea of penalty for delay of information by the AG office Shimla,” said Goyal’s counsel Samkaria.

        In the four years, the RTI application had shuttled between the state Information Commission and the CIC as none could decide on who was the second appellate authority to challenge the reply of the Principal AG. According to the books, the second appellate authority of a Central government office is the CIC.

        Source : RTI applicant gets nod to examine records
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