I had emphasised above that the issue could be argued in innumerable angle. As one of the innumerable angle, please visualise the cituation as to what happen during the First Appeal. The AA in most of the cases could be in the same office. The AA invariably consult with the PIO. In case the PIO is changed at the First Appeal stage the AA consult the new PIO or even seek clarification in writting. The new PIO cannot refuce to offer his comments on the plea that it was dispossed of by his predecesor. Hence the new PIO do have a say in the First Appeal stage internally. If he does not agree with his predecessor he may offer his comments accordingly to the AA. I mean the decision of the AA at First Appel stage is influenced by the new PIO. As regards CIC's (Management) Regulation, presently an Appellant has no choice other than abiding with it. If he opt to approach judiciary the CIC 's (Management) Regulation may not be sustailable in a court of law as the CIC is not vesated with any powers to make Rule/Regulation. My comment on CIC's (Management) Regulation is available in my blog in this forum. This is one of the reason for my statement that it can be argued in innumerable ways. At the initial application stage Section 6(1) of the RTI Act does not stipulate the requirement of addressing the PIO by name. Any Rules or directions on RTI made has to confine to the existing provisions of the Act unless the Act is amended. The issue is too complicated.
The comments of colnrkurup Sir with regard to the CIC's (Management) Regulations are excellent. However, as per the Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005, (framed by the central Govt.) also, it is mandatory to provide the name and address of the PIO against the decision of whom the appeal is being preferred. Secondly, the function of the AA are of quasi-judicial nature. If the file is routed to the AA through the PIO then it is against the principals of natural justice. The AA cannot based his decision on the basis of the comments of a person, who is not a party to the dispute. Since the new PIO is not a party to the dispute, his comments are irrelevant.
CIC and SICs are not Courts nor their proceedings are reckoned as judicial proceedings by CIC (He has sought this consideration during his conference on 17-10-2007, though myself in person maintain that their proceedings are judicial proceedings); but only Commissions having limitted powers stipulated in Section 18(3) vested in civil courts while trying a suit under the CPC,1908. Can an AA form an opinion and make a decision without calling for the case file in the custody of the new PIO and without hearing him ? Since it is not incumbant on an Appellant to give the name of the PIO in his initial application for information under Section 6(1), the PIO(not necessarily a particular person by name) is the Respondent. The First appeal is against the decision of the PIO and not a particular person by name. Therefore I am of the opinion that no AA can take a decision without giving the respondent an opportunity for being heard. The respondent in first appeal is the new PIO when he is changed. The AA cannot recall a retired or transferred PIO for every hearings under RTI Act though one cannot escape the responsibility for the decisions made by him. Since the AA is not required to fix responsibility or impossing penalty at first appeal stage the former PIO cannot be drawn into every hearing/consideration of first appeals of former PIOs denials. But during second appeals where the SIC consider imposition of penalty only it is incumbant on him to draw the first PIO and give him an opportunity for being heard before impossing penalty. Of course this issue can be interpreted in any way by fertile minds.
Its a very enlightening discussion thread.
colnrkurup has explained the issue in great details.
The basic of any judicial jurisprudence is no one should be condemned with out being heard.
Before awarding penalty the PIO against whom penalty is being proposed needs to be given opportunity to put forth the other side of the view as well.
It can go any way, depending on the facts of the case, as colnrkurup has pointed.