The RTI Act 2005 Section 7 (1) causes CPIO to furnish the reply.
No other person can sign as per the act to qoute,
7 (1) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 5 or the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 6, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request under section 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9:to unqoute.
The appellant’s grievance that decisions are conveyed by other than the CPIO
and the appellate authority is well founded. Under the RTI Act, it is responsibility of
the designated CPIO to furnish the information sought for by a citizen. Considering
the fact, that CPIO is punishable under Section 20 of the Act with fine, it is necessary
that the decision taken by the CPIO is communicated under his signature. Likewise,
while disposing of an appeal, the appellate authority discharges a quasi judicial
function and as such his decisions must bear his signature to indicate that he has
applied his mind in taking the decision. The usual office procedure has no place in the
matters of RTI Act.
For denying information the reason has to be specifed along with the relevent section of RTI which grants exemption.
Yesterday I received a decision of Appellate Authority, which was neither signed by the Appellate Authority nor by the SPIO of the State Govt. Dept. One ifficer of that Dept forwarded the decision of the A.A concerned , which was not at all signed by the A.A.I would also like to mention here that during hearing I produced sufficient documents to prove that the infoemation should be with that Dept, and the concerned SPIO did furnish the incorrect information. But the A. A did not bother at all and what was told by the defending officer in presence of both SPIO and also the A. A simply that has been communicated to me as the decision of the Appeallate Authority. This was my 2nd hearing, I don't know what is to be done- as the State Information Commission is very much relactant ti take any proper action against the concerned SPIO. If any member suggest me the action required to be taken and advice that will be helpful.
I have to add something -- if the answer provoded as " no information is available in this Dept " is it sufficient enough as per RTI Act to avoid the query ? As in this case the SPIO provided the same reply to three applocants on the same date. Out of 18 queries, 15 was reploed as - " no information is available etc.
During hearing I produced that some documents were submitted to that Dept with proper seal and signature over the documents- but the A.A and also the SPIO concerned simply followed the statement as furnished by them.. Abhijeet
When you have documents to prove that the information sought for is available with the department and inspite of it, if the AA/SPIO has taken a stand that no information is available, then it becomes a case of malafidely denying the request for information or knowingly giving incorrect incomplete and misleading information. The right course should be to prefer a complaint u/s 18 (1) (e) of the RTI Act to the SIC.