The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) today reserved its order on a complaint whether the UT administrator was a public authority or not. The complaint was filed with the CIC by activist Hemant Goswami for the failure of UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues to appoint a ‘public information officer’ and for not making the information available to public under Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
According to a press note issued here today, Goswami had reasoned that since the administrator was a constitutional authority appointed under Article 239(2) of the Constitution and came within the definition of article 2(h) which reads that “public authority means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by or under the Constitution.”
However, countering the claim, joint secretary home Bhupinder Singh, who appeared on behalf of the administrator, informed the commission that the administrator did not have any real existence and there was no office of the administrator. He said the commission that the files of the administrator were dealt with by officials of the Punjab Government appointed in the Governor House and the Chandigarh administration had no control over the same.
Chandigarh, May 16 (IANS) The administrator of Chandigarh, who is also the Punjab governor, is not above the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled. CIC has ordered the union territory (UT) administrator to designate a public information officer (PIO) within seven days to come under the ambit of the act.
Reacting to a complaint filed by social activist Hemant Goswami on the issue of non-compliance of the provisions of the act by the UT administrator, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah this week ordered the administrator to appoint a PIO within 7 days of the order, Goswami said here Friday.
“Gen. S.F. Rodrigues, Administrator, Chandigarh is directed to designate a PIO in the office of administrator within a week of receipt of this decision notice. That officer will publish and maintain a record as mandated under section 4 (1) (b),” the CIC order said.
Goswami had filed a complaint under Section 18 of the act with the CIC in January this year pointing out that even after two-and-a-half years of the Act coming into force, the UT administrator had not published the necessary details mandated under it and also not appointed any PIO.
The complainant mentioned that proper implementation of the act was important for transparency and accountability in the administrator’s office.
“This is also the beginning of end of arbitrariness and misuse of unaccountable powers by the administration in Chandigarh,” Goswami said after the CIC order.
He said that the “mission zero tolerance” started in Chandigarh was showing its impact.
Responding to Goswami’s complaint, the Chandigarh administration maintained that there was no actual office of the administrator and that no record was generated in the said office.
The plea of the administration was that the administrator’s post was only an additional charge held by the Punjab governor, who is a constitutional authority and hence not covered under the RTI.
The administration argued that it had not even given a peon to the administrator.
The CIC order said: “The administrator is appointed by the President of India under Article 239 of the Constitution of India. Respondent Bhupinder Singh, joint secretary (Home) UT Chandigarh on the other hand argued that the administrator has no staff and no record. Even in his response to the complaint notice, he had repeatedly referred to the office of administrator as “so called” office of administrator.”
Not accepting this reasoning of the administration, the CIC decided that, “In this case there can be little doubt that the administrator is an authority established under Article 239 of the Constitution, occupied by an official with an assignment, and therefore an office.
“It matters little whether that authority exercises any duty or not. Even if he does not head a particular body or sit in a room or building where people work at desks, he still occupies a formal position of responsibility. Under the circumstances, there can be little doubt that the administrator is a public authority and, under section 5(1) was required within 100 days of the enactment of this Act to designate a Public Information Officer.”
Officer who opposed appointment of CPIO himself takes over
Officer who opposed appointment of CPIO himself takes over
As reported in Express News Service, May 25, 2008 at 11:55:11
Chandigarh, May 24 Bhupinder Singh had said "there was no necessity for appointment of CPIO because no information or record is maintained in the Administrator's office"
There cannot be a worse mockery of law. Sources in the Administration said that the officer, who had been opposing the appointment of a Central Principal Information Officer (CPIO) at the office of the Administrator, has himself been appointed as the new CPIO.
On Friday, Bhupinder Singh was appointed as the CPIO in the office of the UT Administrator and Secretary to Punjab Governor M P Singh was appointed as the Appellate Authority.
On May 15, Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had directed the Administration to designate an officer as CPIO in the office of UT Administrator.
While adjudicating the complaint by social activist Hemant Goswami on the issue of non-compliance of the Right to Information Act (RTI) by the UT Administrator, Habibullah directed the Administrator to have a CPIO in his office, who shall maintain the record as mandated under
Section 4 (1) (b).
Goswami had filed a complaint in January 2008 under Section 18 of the RTI with the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) pointing out that even after two years of the Act coming into force, the UT Administrator had not published the necessary details mandated under the RTI Act. Besides, no Public Information Officer had been appointed.
Bhupinder Singh, who was representing the Chandigarh Administration, while contesting the case in the office of CIC repeatedly contended that "there was no necessity for the appointment of a CPIO in the office of UT Administrator, because no information or record is maintained in the Administrator's office."
In his letter to the CIC on February 6, 2008, Bhupinder Singh has specifically mentioned, "It is intimated that the Administration is headed by the Administrator. The Governor of Punjab has been appointed as the Administrator of Chandigarh. No separate office has been set up by the Administration with the nomenclature of the Administrator's office."
However, turning down all the contentions made by Bhupinder Singh, the CIC directed UT Administrator to designate an officer as CPIO and publish the requisite manual as prescribed under the provisions of RTI Act.
1.In chandigarh an officer who was working as an Appellate Authority for Home Deptt. has also been appointed CPIO for another office i.e.Office of the Administerator.Can a single person can hold duel charge of CPIO as well as Appellate Authority almost of the same deptt.as Home Deptt.will be dealing with applications received by CPIO of Administerator who also happens to be Governor of Punjab.
2.The Proective Disclosures under section 4 has not been updated since long thouh it has been pointed out many times.Even a complaint with CIC is likely to take much time.
1.He is CPIO for Office of Administartor and his designation is Joint Secretary Home in Home Deptt.of UT Chandigarh.
2.Normal Designation of AA where he is CPIO is Secretary to Administerator who happens to be Governor of Punjab also.
3.Normal designation is Joint Secretary Home where he is AA
4.Normal designation is Superintendent where he is AA
Also please let me know can I file an application iunder RTI for getting information on updation of Proective disclosures.Are CPIOs and Appellate Authority supposed to display their complete office and residential adress at the gate of their office and website under proective disclosures.Pleae quote the section of RTI Act also.