Thanks for your detailed response.
Just before I found this Forum, I was about to go ahead with filing my Second Appeal before the CIC. Now I realise that I was leaving some week points and formalities, so my case would have become week. I am glad that I did not hurry. Now, coming to your post (in blue colour) ...
You have already made a complaint to CIC under Sec 18. Based on this, CIC gave an order and further developments took place as highlighted by you in Serial Nr. 3 onwards.
1. In your initial complaint to the CIC, did you "pray" for:
- Information to be given to you free of charge since the mandatory
time limit of 30 days was over
- Penalty on the PIO at the rate of Rs 250 per day for the delay in reply to you (10 days and 60 days for the two replies sent by PIO) ?
Yes, I did committed a procedural lapse out of ignorance. This resulted in avoidable delay. Here is how I filed my Complaint u/s 18(1):
1. 23-2-2007: I filed application under RTI
2. 19-3-2007: PIO says my request in process in concerned unit
3. 4-4-2007: (received on 12-4-2007) PIO's reply, is incomplete/false
4. 17-4-2007: I requested to PIO to provide info on remaining points
5. 21-5-2007: I remind PIO by email
6. 26-5-2007 (received on 9-6-2007) PIO gave some more info, but it is still incomplete, false and misleading. He says it is 'final reply' and do not indicate the further course of action available to me.
7. 5-7-2007: I filed "Application u/s 18(1)" before CIC.
As can be seen, I skipped First Appeal out of ignorance.
From the CIC decision, it looks as if you did not specifically "pray" for these two. Normally in such cases (if you see some other CIC decisions), CIC specifically mentions in its orders:
- Information to be given free of charge
- Appellant can come back to the CIC after the final information is given, in case he is still not satisfied with the reply of PIO.
I specifically requested CIC under the para "Ground for Prayer or Relief" that information may be provided to me free u/s 7(6) and penalty be imposed u/s 20(1) and disciplinary proceedings be ordered against PIO u/s 20(2). However, it seems, I was not exactly on the right track because I made my application u/s 18(1).
2. The time limit that you are asking about is only applicable if you go in for Second Appeal under Sec 19(3).
This depends on whether the AA's orders were communicated to you or not ? Did he pass any speaking orders ? Was any reference made to the AA's orders in the subsequent communications of the PIO/APIO....?
If the answer is NO, then as a applicant you can safely assume that the AA did not deal with your case.
In such a case you can directly go for complaint under Section 18 (in spite of using this route once already). There is no time limit under Sec 18.
On the other hand , if the AA has heard your case (and you were informed about the AA's decision directly or via the PIO), then go for Second Appeal under Sec 19(3)...which allows 90 days from the date information actually received (which is 25 Feb 2008 in your case).
Till I approached CIC, I did not avail my First Appeal. I was heard by IC and he observed my I was not able to properly form my questions. He said, however, he would not reject my application totally and passed Decision dated 7-12-2007 stating that applicant may seek inspection of documents to identify the exact information required by him. CIC also ordered PIO to give me a survey report within 15 working days.
Therefore, do not worry about time limit irrespective of whether you are invoking Sec 18 or Sec 19...since in both the situations you are within limits.
PIO did not provide me the said survey report within 15 days. Then, on 28-12-2007 I wrote to PIO to expedite the survey report and also gave him the list of documents to be made available for inspection. However, PIO did not gave me the survey report, not inspection of documents was arranged till 18-1-2007.
I addressed to AA with subject "First Appeal" (Section 19(1) was not quoted explicitly, but "First Appeal" was mentioned in subject line) on 18-1-2007. On this date the PIO is clear defaulter of not providing me the survey report, but it is still short of one month since I gave him the list of documents for inspection (i.e. on 28-12-2007).
Now, can I plead that my First Appeal was valid. I may also mention that I did not file a fresh request for information (inspection of documents) by paying Application Fee afresh, but quoted the Decision of CIC for my request for inspection of documents. The purpose of this inspection was only to identify the documents that would answer my quries dated 23-2-2007 and also to establish that the partial information given to me already was correct/true.
4. In the prayer or plea in Second Appeal, you can ask for:
(1) CIC should direct the PIO to give all information you requested in original RTI Application
(2) CIC should direct PIO to give you print out of the computer data as well as photocopies of the pages you ask
(3) All information should be provided to you Free of Charge under Sec 7(6)
(4) Any charges paid by you till date should be refunded by the Public Authority
(5) PIO should be penalized under Sec 20 for delay in providing information at the rate of Rs. 250 per day (subject to maximum of Rs 25,000.00) under Sec 20 (1)
(6) Disciplinary action under Sec 20(2)
Now I can understand the use of para (6) and (7). What do you think of following:
(6) Prayer or relief Sought
1. It is prayed that under Rule 16 (ii) of Regulations, I may be allowed to be present during the haring of the appeal
2. Under Section 18(3) or RTI and under Rule 18 of Regulations, order the presence of:
(i) Nodal Officer - he denied me printout/photocopy on the pretext that he was not authorised to collect fee for providing printouts, even though I was entitled to receive the copies free of cost u/s 7(6). He also claimed that some other documents requested by me are untraceable.
(ii) Officer XYZ (APIO under RTI Act) - He claimed that printout of information displayed on computer screen can not be given. He also claimed that irrelevent information given to me as a part of the information is satisfactory enough for that part of information (my claim is that it is entirely irrelevant to the context). He may be directed to produce the said information (which was shown to me but copies not given) before the CIC.
(iii) Officer ABC - This officer has carried out the said survey, but a copy of the survey was not given to me.
(iv) Officer PQR - This officer has made a file notings based on survey report, which has been provided to me with claim that this is the survey report. I suspect that these remarks on the file are manipulated and not based on the report submitted by 'Officer ABC'. Also, the concerned file wherein the said survey was ordered and its report discussed be also produced before CIC.
(v) Other points as suggested above.
(7) Ground for the Prayer or Relief
(i) Penalty on PIO u/s 20(1) - as suggested above
(ii) Disciplinary proceedings against PIO u/s 20(2) - as suggested above.
One more question. The Regulations say that the language of Appeal/Complaint should be formal. What do you say if I include a para like the following (as my case is against a phone company):
Once the above doubts are cleared, I intend to file the Second Appeal in about two weeks time.
Thanks again for your help and patience with the very long post.
Naresh Kumar Saini