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Thread: For Your Kind Suggestion.

  1. #1

    For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Dear Sirs,
    Please Suggest me at an earliest.

    I have sought information from the PIO by E-Mail. I came to learnt that, though e-Governance has been introduced, they are unable to supply me information through e-mail. And asking me to deposit a fee for Rs.1000/ which is unreasonable. And hence,
    i ) Whether the PIO can direct me to pay an ammount of fee ? when I opted for sending information through e-mail.
    ii ) And if it is"Yes", whether I should appeal before the FAA (Senior to the PIO of the same establishment) for such high charge.
    iii) What will be the time limit for such appeal against ammount of fees. ?
    In my calculation it will come arround Rs.75/-only including Reg.Postal charge.
    I have opted for e-mail as because they used to send letter(for depositing fees)under certificate of posting which has not been delivered to me ,in past & the reasons not known. Thereby after the lapses of time it will be easier for them to reject the application.
    With Regards, Ashok Mishra.



  2. #2
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Ashok,

    1. Your seeking information from the PIO by email is allowed under the
    RTI Act.
    I hope that you paid the application fee also as per the rules and the approved mode of payment (depending
    on the state you are in or under central rules).

    If you have done that, your application is a valid RTI application.

    2. Depending on the information you asked for, the PIO can certainly ask you for additional fees as per Sec 7(3) and the prevailing rules of your location (again depends on your state or centre).

    3. If you find the "additional charges" which the PIO has indicated to you as unreasonable, you have the right to make a First Appeal to the FAA. Since you have not indicated what the PIO has exactly said in his reply, you can use the following grounds in your First Appeal:
    (ONLY applicable if PIO did not do any of these things)
    a) PIO did not inform you details about the AA in his reply (Name, designation, address, etc)
    b) PIO did not give a explanation and detailed break of charges. He should have given you details of how he arrived at the figure of Rs 1000.00. For example he can say...Rs 2 per photocopy, total 500 copies so Rs 1000 to be paid , etc.
    Please quote Sec 7(3):
    “7(3) Where a decision is taken to provide the information on payment of any further fee representing the cost of providing the information, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall send an intimation to the person making the request, giving―
    (a) the details of further fees representing the cost of providing the information as determined by him, together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section(1), …….”


    You can also "pray or plea" to the AA that you want to be present at the time of hearing of your appeal and that you want him to pass a written order.
    Time limit for First Appeal is 30 days from the date on which reply was received from the PIO.
    The FAA must reply within 30 days form the date of First Appeal or at the most within 45 days provided he gives reasons in writing as to why he took the extra 15 days.

    You can also mention in your First Appeal that letters sent by the PIO under CoP are not being delivered to you and they should take the matter up with the relevant Post Office. You can also ask the PIO to give you a copy of the "dispatch register" to make sure that the letter was actually sent to you. Give a written complaint to the PIO with a copy to the head of the Public Authority (PA).

  3. #3
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Though one may pray anything one wish, is it obligatory on the part of the AA to consider a prayer of an appellant " to be present at the time of hearing of one's appeal " ? I mean, can the appellent legitimately complain later that his prayer to be present at the time of hearing his appeal was not considered by the AA ? I could not find any provision in support of such a plea in the RTI Act.

  4. #4
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.



    colnrkurup,

    You are absolutely correct that there is nothing in the RTI Act about such a plea.
    But then, there is also nothing in RTI Act against making such a plea.
    Personally, I always take a very "exhaustive" or expansive interpretation of the provisions of the RTI Act as against a "restricted" or narrow view.
    Over the last one year I noticed that (both in my personal cases as well as those I helped) sometimes the FAA might not take all points into consideration while deciding the First Appeal. Since in most cases, the FAA and the PIO sit in the same block/unit, it is safe to assume that the FAA will take the PIO's views into account. So, why shouldn't the appellant be also allowed to be present and "heard" during First Appeal ?

    When something is NOT properly DEFINED or explained in the RTI Act, please take shelter under "precedence":

    https://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_22092006_2.pdf:

    “Appeal” is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as the transference of a case from
    an inferior to a higher Court or tribunal in the hope of reversing or modifying the
    decision of the former. In the Law Dictionary by Bouvier an appeal is defined as the
    removal of a case from a Court of inferior jurisdiction to one of superior jurisdiction for
    the purpose of obtaining a review and re-trial. In the Law Dictionary by Sweet, the
    term “appeal” is defined as a proceeding taken to rectify an erroneous decision of a
    Court by submitting the question to a higher Court or Court of Appeal. It is a settled
    law that an appeal proceeding is a continuation of the original proceeding. A
    decision by an appellate authority after issue of a notice and after a full hearing, in
    presence of both the parties, replaces the judgment of the lower court/ authority
    . The
    decision of the appellate authority is on merit and as such, it can vary, modify or
    substitute its own decision in place of the decision of the inferior authority. In
    appropriate cases, it can quash or set-aside the decision of the inferior authority and
    can pass its own decision, which may be altogether different from that of the original
    decision. An Appellate Authority may re-examine the matter and take fresh evidence,
    if required, or if considered necessary.

    ===================================
    https://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_23022007_03.pdf:

    Also we agree with the appellant that the presence of the appellant is not mandatory in
    the appeal
    and he Appellate Authority has, therefore, erred in dismissing the appeal only
    on grounds of absence of the appellant, although it must be conceded that he had given
    every opportunity to appellant to appear.

    (If presence is not mandatory then absence is also not mandatory !)
    ======================================================

    https://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_22112007_05.pdf

    We find that in his first appeal appellant Shri Raju has specifically requested that the decision be taken without his presence, yet the Department has insisted that no decision will be taken without the presence of the appellant and finally come to the conclusion that the appellant is not interested. This conclusion is without any basis whatever.

    (If CIC is confirming that absence from first appeal cannot be a ground for deciding the interest of the appellant, then there are also no grounds against the presence of the appellant !)

    I request you to please give your views on this as well as request other members to give their views also.

  5. #5
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    I personally feel that the RTI Act cannot be linked with other enactment due to its exclusive psovision Section 19(5). Such a provision does not exist in any of the Indian laws I had come across. Naturally precedences cannot have much help in this case as the precedences are based on the existing mind-set of old provisions sans Section 19(5) RTI Act.

    Against the precedence that " the party should be given an opportunity for being heard prior to award" may not be of much value here as the appellant in the case of RTI Act need not substantiate his claim or prosecute it. Similarly the meaning of the term 'Appeal' also need not be stretched to that extend. An appeal simply means "The transfer of a case from a lower to a high court for hearing" This is adequate for RTI Act.I donot conribute to the term " If presence is not mandatory then absence is also not mandatory". In fact Section 19(5) imply that absence is mandatory. If the appellant does not have any role in the hearing i.e., that he does not have to prove anything during the hearing, he has absolutely no business to be there.

    I think that the CIC has by accident clarified the issue giving ruling against the plea that " the appellant had no interest"

    There is one more aspect of my personal view. RTI has to be dealt in a different atmosphere of give and take and not in the strict sence of legal jurisprudence unless one enter into confrontation. When the give and take is in a coordial atmospehere , even when the PIO seek clarification from the applicant or the AA need to have a heart to heart discussion on the consequence of divulging the information ,the applicant should cooperate. That is a long drawn dream. The presnet set of ICs, SICs and CIC are nowhere near that goal. So, let us fight it out till every one behave.

  6. #6
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Quote Originally Posted by colnrkurup View Post
    I personally feel that the RTI Act cannot be linked with other enactment due to its exclusive psovision Section 19(5). Such a provision does not exist in any of the Indian laws I had come across. Naturally precedences cannot have much help in this case as the precedences are based on the existing mind-set of old provisions sans Section 19(5) RTI Act.
    But Sec 19(5) comes into play only when there is denial of information. In any case, wouldn't you like to be present when the PIO is defending himself ?
    In other situations like misleading information, incomplete information, etc...it is always advisable for the appellant to personally present his arguments. Please read so many decisions on the CIC website (and some SIC websites), the whole matter has been spoilt because the appellant did not make a judicious first appeal and refuted arguments put forward by the PIO/AA. I have always asked for presence during my First Appeals, it has never been denied and I have never had a RTI application go to Second Appeal (maybe there were other reasons for that, but my presence during the First Appeal was definitely a contributing factor).

    Quote Originally Posted by colnrkurup View Post
    Against the precedence that " the party should be given an opportunity for being heard prior to award" may not be of much value here as the appellant in the case of RTI Act need not substantiate his claim or prosecute it. Similarly the meaning of the term 'Appeal' also need not be stretched to that extend.
    Here is a concrete situation. In a particular First Appeal, instead of the PIO, the AA heard the APIO and passed a order. The order happily said right at the top, that the APIO was "present". On receiving the order, I immediately approached the AA for a appointment which was granted immediately. On being pointed out that the APIO has no locus standi during a First Appeal, the AA heard me and issued new orders. The situation could be thus salvaged. If I would have been present at the initial stage itself, I would have never even allowed the APIO to say anything during the First Appeal !

    " If presence is not mandatory then absence is also not mandatory"

    Colnrkurup, as the old saying goes, it all depends on whether you look at the glass and say whether its half empty or half full ! If one does not like drinking medicine, the glass will always look half full, since you still have to drink the rest even if you do not like its taste. But if one is drinking a nice milk shake, the glass will always look half empty, because you want the other half to be filled. Since the act does not say anything about presence of appellant during the First Appeal, the applicant should use this to his advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by colnrkurup View Post
    I think that the CIC has by accident clarified the issue giving ruling against the plea that " the appellant had no interest"
    That is not correct. Once again have a look at CIC decisions. There are countless decisions of CIC citing this as a reason. Including a case of our own forum member:

    https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/936-where-go-next.html


    Quote Originally Posted by colnrkurup View Post
    There is one more aspect of my personal view. RTI has to be dealt in a different atmosphere of give and take and not in the strict sence of legal jurisprudence unless one enter into confrontation. When the give and take is in a coordial atmospehere , even when the PIO seek clarification from the applicant or the AA need to have a heart to heart discussion on the consequence of divulging the information ,the applicant should cooperate. That is a long drawn dream. The presnet set of ICs, SICs and CIC are nowhere near that goal. So, let us fight it out till every one behave.
    I agree with you. Everyone has own views and own ways of approaching a problem/situation.
    As far as the RTI Act is concerned, I am no Mahatma Gandhi.
    If the PIO is courteous, law abiding and follows the RTI Act to the letter T, so do I. If he starts acting against the principles of the Act, I use the sections in the same Act to rebut the arguments. If he makes me run around, I start reading the clauses of the Act to him. Principle in my life is simple (at least as far as RTI is concerned)...I will cooperate as much as PA/PIO/AA cooperate, not a iota more and not a iota less.

  7. #7
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    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Thank you for an informative discussion. You are very lucky to be placed in a State where people are reaonably amenable to reason and donot maintain a pre-concieved notion that "Who the hell the applicant think himself to be ? Let him try anything. The information will not be given. Even if we wish to give, it is not possible as it will expose far too many skeletons." The attitude is same from the Village officer to the SIC who support mutually. There is absolutely no problem in getting information of routine nature. The problem start only in cases where the information asked in bits and pieces when joined together is likely to expose very serious acts of corruption. In Kerala such incidents are far too many which exactly is the problem. Believe it or not I have made 245 RTI applications (including first appeal, second appeal and complaints). So far I got a satisfactory reply only in 10 cases.
    Thank you once again

  8. #8

    Re: For Your Kind Suggestion.


    Dear Sir, Let me say what exactly received form the PIO.
    1)Fees fpr supplying information:321PagesX2=642 plus Postal charges Rs.250 Total Rs.892 2)There is no facility available in the information cell to transmit the information by E-Mail. 3)Make payment within 15 days.
    Hence, Can I make an appeal in the following manner.:-
    1)I have never asked information in photocopying form or in certified copy form,rather clearly in E-Mail form as per para 6 of the application Form.
    2)In this information age, the office of your college which is an autonomous one with B++ grade, are lacking with the facilities of E-Mail communication, and so if you are unable to provide information in E-Mail form you are supposed to supply the information at your own cost.,Which I have already received from the other PIO in past. OR you can supply the information of para 7 which is a voluminious one in C.D. Form. Still if it will not be possible on your part, I am hereby compel to withdraw myself from the information sought for in that paticular para. xxx
    Sir, I feel as that particular information is of lesser importance, they have deliberately made it voluminous without extracting the information in a reduced form. Hence,Please suggest.

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