I have been bowled over by most stubborn CAPIO/CPIO/AA of one of the leading Telecom Utility.
Every time I am asking for a file inspection I am being told that the particular file is "Not available" or "not readily traceable" carefully avoiding the words Missing or Lost.
See these Replies:
"From your letter under reference it is revealed that you were not satisfied by the above inspection due to the fact that the relevant information regarding the contents that appeared in website of BSNL, Cuttack during March-05 to Oct-05 were not shown to you as those were not available.
The undersigned has deeply felt the gravity of your sentiments and has therefore taken due care of that in true sense of spirit. In this respect it is to intimate that sincere efforts are being made to collect the information from Adsoft Technologies, the website designer and Ex-SDE ( Computor), O/o GMTD, Cuttack. You will be intimated in due course of time if any information as to your queries are received by this office from the above sources."
After two months this reply:
"While referring to this office letter as above on the captioned subject it is to intimate that inspite of sincere efforts made from different angles for collecting the information relating to the contents that appeared in the website of BSNL, Cuttack on Broad Band Service during March-05 lo Oct-05 . no fruitful results were obtained. This is for your kind information please."
Here's another reply to another RTI Query:
"A-3. The information is not readily traceable, will be supplied if found subsequently.
A- 4 (A)&(B). No file is missed, lost or destroyed. The allegation is self made."
Please see the Contradictory Statements above.
My previous Complaint / Appeals are pending with the CIC. No sign of early disposal.
I am at my wits end. Fellow members please guide me.
I think you have to re-word your request. There are many ways. One of the suggested way is to seek the information afresh requesting
1. "As per your records particulars of the official who was the custodian of the file containing the information..... .... during 2004
2. do. 2005
3.. do. 2006
4. do. 2007
5. do. 2008
6. do. when it was last seen by Section Officer (give the appointment of the Officer who is suppossed to issue orders on this file) last or when the information contained in the web site was published
You have to reword it suiting your requirement.
Let us see how does he escape answering it without telling you that everything is missing
In such cases, the CIC usually asks the respondents (the PA/PIO/AA) directly if they have or do not have the records and what is the policy of weeding out old records. Each department has a separate policy for weeding out and destruction.
Problem is that in your case they are not admitting "lost" or "destroyed".
If they cannot trace it, then it is presumed missing.
The PA should file a FIR for that.
Please see following decision of CIC:
During the hearing the representative of the Bank has produced before me a letter dated 22.12.2007 sent to the complainant containing point-wise reply. In that letter it has been mentioned that duplicate FDR was issued in lieu of the original one which is reported as lost and the copy of the letter by which loss of FDR was reported cannot be provided as it is not available at present. The CPIO is directed to recheck the records once again and if it is not available he has to file an affidavit to that effect. Apart from that for getting duplicate FDR, the parties might have furnished indemnity bond. The complainant is requesting for the copy of indemnity bond. The Bank has stated that this is also not available. According to the complainant, the Bank’s contention of having all other records except these two cannot be believed. I, therefore, direct the CPIO to carry out rechecking of records once again and provide the particulars to the complainant since he is the joint-holder of the FDR. In case if these records are not available, the Bank has to file an affidavit to that effect before the Commission. On the above lines, the complaint is disposed of.