Can Ansic Suo Motu Conver A Complaint Into Second Appeal ?
Can an SIC convert a complaint under Section 18(1)(c) to a Second appeal suo motu ? To me, there is no provision. Section 19(3) is categorical. A second appeal can be made only against the decision under Section 19(1). If there is no decision from the PIO or AA ie., if there is no response from them what is to be appealed against? In such cases one has no choice other than preferring a complaint under Section 18(1)(c). It is nothing but common sense that in case the PIO does not reply, it is better to drag in theAA by making a first Appeal. In case there is no response from the AA also, there cannot be any other alternative.
But that is not the way according to the SIC, Kerala (of couse the same SIC who has ordered the RDO, Palghat not to abide by Section 5(2) of the Act)Following is the extract of SIC Kerala's Orders in No.AP/375/2007/SIC dated12-11-2007 (six full pages)
"This is an unusual appeal entertained u/s 19(3) of theRTI Act. Though the request of the appellant was to entertain this matter as a complaint u/s 18(1) of the RTI Act, on a close scrutiny, it was brought out that the appellant himself had availed of an opportunity u/s 19(1) of theRTI Act, preferring a first appeal before the AA viz., the Principal Secretary,Revenue, Govt. of Kerala against the SPIO, Revenue Department,GovtSecretariat, Trivadnrum. Having availed of a legal remedy u/s 19(1) , the scheme of the RTI Act does not permit one to prefer a complaint u/s 18(1) before the SIC agaist both the AA and PIO. Therefore, the commission with its inherent power had entertained this complaint u/s 19(3) of the RTI Act as the second appeal"
The appellant had asked the PIO " Action taken on a particular complaint forwarded to the Revenue Department by the Hon'ble Minister". Since no response from PIO, a first appeal under 19(!) preferred. When no response from AA also, a Complaint was made to SIC. Neither the PIO nor AA nor SIC plead that the above is not the information falling under defenition nor pleaded as not held. Only problem was that the information if given will expose corruption of officials. The SIC has suo motu converted the complaint into second appeal and dismissed with 6 full page judgement justifying the actions of officials by dragging in the history of the case etc.The order doesnot say that information fall under any of the exceptions.