4 yrs on, CIC to hear RTI plea today
as reported by Hemlata Verma in Express India, May 24, 2010Application 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."