RTI Application Date: 7 September 2006
PIO's reply: 3 November 2006
First Appeal: 24 November 2006
No response to First Appeal
Second Appeal: 29 March 2007
CIC disposes off the Second Appeal with the orders/comments:
Because the 1st appellate authority has not addressed the questions of
appellant, which are of direct concern to his public authority and because
appellant has pleaded no ground for making a direct complaint to us u/s 18 (1)
(e), the Commission has decided to remand this appeal to Air Marshal T S
Randhawa, V.M. Commandant, NDA Khadakwasla, Pune, who is directed to
dispose of the appeal of Shri Kamal C. Tiwari within ten working days from
the date of receipt of this decision, under intimation to Shri Pankaj
Shreyaskar, Jt Registrar, Central Information Commission.
We also note that the application was made on 7.9.’06. A reply was therefore
due as per Sec 7(1) on 7.10.’06, but has been sent only on 3.11.’06. The 1st
Appellate Authority should therefore satisfy himself on this issue, that there was
reasonable cause for this delay, and if so required approach this Commission for
initiation of proceedings under section 20 of the RTI Act for imposition of penalty
and/or recommending appropriate disciplinary action.
If not satisfied with the information provided on his 1st appeal, complainant
Shri Kamal C. Tiwari will be free to move a 2nd appeal before us as per Sec 19
Why is the matter being remanded once again to the FAA when the FAA has not heard the First Appeal and neither given any spoken or written order - even after the First Appeal was made ?
Why is CIC asking FAA to check if there is a reasonable cause for delay ? That is the CIC's responsibility. Nowhere in the RTI Act, does it say that the FAA has to check if there is a reasonable cause for delay. If that was the case, what is the need to have a SIC or CIC ? Let the FAA also decide on penalty under Sec 20(1) and Disciplinary action under Sec 20(2). Then SIC and CIC can be comfortably disbanded.
Why is the CIC asking FAA to approach the CIC for initiation of proceedings under Sec 20 ? Where is that power or right given to the FAA under the RTI Act ? The FAA sits in the same office of the PIO. Most of the time they are hand in glove with each other. What interest will the FAA have in getting penalty imposed on his subordinate ?
I can foresee the situation....the applicant will not get the information and file Second Appeal in the CIC. Either the Second Appeal will be thrown out on technical grounds (second time second appeal !) or the CIC will again pass the buck and remand the matter back to the FAA.
And the world will keep going round and round and round and round and................
It is high time for RTI Activists all over India to come together and voice against the atrocities of the CIC and SICs. The CIC made his first step by making an unsustainable and unlawful Rules called 'CIC's (Management) Regulatin 2007 . His second step was to hold Information Commissioners Trade Unition meeting at government expense on the guise of "information Commissioner's Conference on 17-10-2007for collective bargaining for higher pay and perks for themselves.. When he found both his steps are firm, now he started walking over "We the People of India" flouting the RTI Act 2005. Please rise and atleast make noices wherever you can. It is already too late to bridle the CIC and SICs.
There is another similar interesting order of the cic http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/WB-16042008-03.pdf
In this case also the CIC has converted the appeal as complaint. But has asked the PIO to provide the info within 10 days and also to appear before it after 10days to show cause why penalty cannot be imposed for the delay. What happened after 10 days is interesting. The PIO appears before CIC and says that the info has indeed been provided in time. It appears that the appellant has not come on that day (it is not clear from the order). The CIC orders that the appellant may not, after all, have received the info and hence it should be handed over by hand to her. CIC is satisfied that the info was 'furnished' by the PIO in time. No penalty.
What I feel is that the CIC is taking a very practical course. It may not be strictly as per law. With the available time, infrastructure and the attitude of the PAs in general and above all absence of any teeth to the CIC for penalising those who do not carry out its orders, the CIC has perhaps been rightly taking this recourse. Things may brighten up after a few years of RTI.
The CIC and SICs are provided with adequate teeth to the extend they are required to bite. In addition to imposition of penalty they can reccommend for discciplinary action against the PIO. In their annual report how many commissions have reported that their such recommendations are not cared by government ? None. Even the C&AG has only power to make Audit Report. He has not complained of not having adequate teeth .
The CIC and SICs folow a SOP of entering into correspondence with the PIO/AA without the knowledge of the appellent. Copies of none of their correspondence are endorced to the appellent. Even when the appellent attend the hearing the PIO/AA/SIC pull out defence which the aappellent are not aware and not prepared for. This make the attendence of appellant's attendance for hearing futile or rather damaging as he is kpet unpreprepared deliberately.
As per basics of legal jurisprudence the CIC/SIC cannot change a decision arrived at unless it is formally reviewed on request from the parties or due to certin eror apparent etc. But the CIC/SICs change their orders suo motu based on their internal correspondence with the PIO/AA. Such change of decision contrary to the erlier one adverse to the appellent without giving an appellent an opportunity for being heard is highly irregular. Similarly the CIC/SIC has absolutely no authority to convert a complaint into appeal or appeal into complaint suo motu.
In the absence of a machinery to audit such gross irregularities WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA has no option but to lump it.