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Thread: Mix-up at it's Registry - CIC orders probe

  1. #1

    Mix-up at it's Registry - CIC orders probe

    CIC orders probe into mix-up at its registry over RTI query

    As reported in Zee News

    New Delhi, Feb 27: Cracking the whip against its own administration for losing track of an RTI application, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered an inquiry into the mix-up at its own end.

    Secunderabad resident Shaji M K had filed an application with CIC seeking details on its case disposal rate on November 22, 2006 and followed it up with an appeal on December 27.

    The first response from the CIC was sent to him in February 2007, a delay of almost two months beyond the permissible limit under the transparency law.

    When the matter was taken up by Shaji with the commission later, the Information Officer pleaded that delay was caused because the matter was not put up before him in time.

    The applicant, however, stressed that he had duly submitted his original application with the postal department, and went ahead to produce documents highlighting the fact that his pleas were delivered to the CIC registry.

    "The case identifies a distinct failure in the registry of this commission, since the letters of department of posts clearly indicate that the application and first appeal were actually delivered," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

    Terming the mix-up as an administrative failure, Habibullah directed joint secretary CIC to inquire the matter in consultation with the postal department and submit a report through its secretary within 20 days.

    The commission, however, refused to put the blame on its Information Officer after perusing postal documents that indicated that a postal order accompanying Shaji's RTI application was neither received at its registrar nor was it encashed.

    [Bureau Report]

  2. #2

    Info watchdog trips on its own rules

    Info watchdog trips on its own rules
    As reported by Sri. CHARU SUDAN KASTURI in The Telegraph

    New Delhi, March 10: India’s information watchdog has apparently not replied to an application seeking details of its work for over a year.
    The question being asked is whether the Central Information Commission, the upholder of the Right to Information Act, would punish itself for allegedly violating the transparency law.

    Forced to answer the question for the first time, the commission has opted for introspection and self-reprimand, but steered clear of punishing its officers. It has ordered an internal inquiry, sources said.
    The commission has said it did not receive the application, so it was not guilty of any violation.

    But the appellant, Secunderabad-based M.K. Shaji, has shown the commission documents from the local post office stating that the application was delivered at the commission headquarters in New Delhi.
    Since he did not receive a reply, Shaji wrote again. This appeal also did not get him a response.

    Under the act, appellants first seek information from the government authority. If they are not satisfied with the response, they file the first appeal with a designated senior official — the appellate authority — in the department.
    The appellant, if dissatisfied, can turn to the commission on his second appeal.

    In this case, the initial application, the first and the second appeals should have come to the commission itself, officials said. The commission is the final arbiter in the implementation of the act.

    “It is clear that there has been a mix-up. The postal department says it delivered the application, but our register does not show any entry. It is certainly the most embarrassing situation we have faced,” a senior official said.

    In the only previous instance when an application has asked for information related to the commission, an appellant sought details on the appointment of information commissioners.

    When the government did not respond, the appellant came to the commission. But since the alleged violator of the law was the government, the commission did not have to pass orders in the case.
    “This case identifies a distinct failure in the registry of this commission since the letters clearly indicate that the application and the first appeal were actually delivered,” chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in his order closing the case.

    Shaji first wrote to the panel on November 22, 2006, asking for the number of complaints received since the act came into force in late 2005.

  3. #3

    CIC loses application that had questioned its performance

    CIC loses application that had questioned its performance

    As reported by Siddhartha Sarma in Live Mint , Apr 21 2008. 12:14 AM IST

    "Official blames changed postal address, doesnt say why other files were not misplaced during the same period."

    New Delhi: In a peculiar case, the Central Information Commission, or CIC, the apex body that makes sure citizens are able to access public information, has censured its own office for misplacing a right to information, or RTI, application that had questioned its performance.

    Calling it a distinct failure in the registry of this commission, CIC ordered an official to find out how the RTI application disappeared. It has since admonished its officers and asked them to ensure that no such failure recurs.

    In an application on 22 November 2006, Shaji M.K., a Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, resident had asked the commissions central public information officer for the number of public information officers in various government departments who were found guilty of violating provisions of the RTI Act, the action that has been taken against them, and the number of second appeals citizens have filed. Second appeals follow a first appeal that are made when an RTI application elicits no or inadequate response.

    Significantly, the applicant also asked whether CIC had decided on any time frame for deciding second appeals, since the Act does not set a deadline.

    Shajis application remained unanswered, and he filed an appeal on 12 December 2006, which, too, remained unanswered. So, he filed another appeal on 5 February 2007, asking for fines to be imposed for every day that his information was delayed. He later received the information he had asked for, except regarding his query on the time frames for deciding second appeals by CIC. He was told that the particular RTI application was not received by the responding authority.

    Shaji appealed against this information to a full bench of CIC. During the hearing, the commissions bench, headed by chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, noted that the department of posts had clarified to Shaji that his application had been delivered to the commission.

    This case identifies a distinct failure in the registry of this commission since the letters of the department of posts clearly indicate that the application and first appeal had been actually delivered, the commission said.

    On 25 February, CIC ordered an internal inquiry into the matter by Tarun Kumar, joint secretary of administration at its office. Kumar submitted his report on 7 April, pinning the fault on the shifting of the postage counter of the commission to a new address in Bhikaji Cama Place here as the reason for the disappearance. It, however, did not explain how other documents at the counter were not misplaced during this period.

    It is interesting that the missing document deals with the functioning of the commission itself and about whether it has set up deadlines and time-frames for its judgements. Citizens and RTI litigants look to the commission for the final word on RTI, a final means to get information. So, the processing system must be improved if that is where the problem lies, said Supreme Court advocate Harish Salve.
    It is a fact that there is no time frame for the commission to decide on an appeal. So, the applicants request was a valid one and something that every person concerned with RTI is interested in. The case should be a caution to CIC to avoid such incidents in other RTI requests, said

    Supreme Court advocate M.K. Kulkarni, who has followed the progress and implementation of the RTI Act since it started in 2005.
    The commission has, in its final order of 10 April, directed the section officer of the postage counter to ensure that no such failure recurs, and directed its secretary to oversee streamlining of the department so that applications against non-issue of information by the government do not go missing within the body meant to safeguard the peoples right to information.


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