CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2006/00627 dated 12.9.2006

Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19

Appellant - Ms. Gita Dewan Verma

Respondent - D.D.A.

Facts:

Ms. Gita Dewan Verma in an application of 1.6.06 sought the following information from Smt. Neemo Dhar, Director PR and PIO, DDA :

  1. “With reference to the news item published in TOI dated 22.5.06 at Encl 1, I request the following information relating to the report of the Tejinder Khanna Committee (TKC)
    1. Copy of the direction(s) issued by MoUD to DDA concerning the TKC report.
    2. Copy of Authority meeting agenda / decisions / resolutions relating to TKC report.
    3. Details of the Committee constituted by the Authority for purposes relating to the TKC report.
    4. Copy of the TKC report.
    5. Copy of DDA committee report on the TKC report, if available already.
  2. I urge publication of the above on DDA website under section 4 and by way of precedent, recall to you the website publication of the “MPD-2021 Guidelines” that were issued by MoUD to DDA in 2003. Alternatively, I request the reports (4 &5) in electronic format OR at normal print / photocopy rates OR prior inspection to identify excerpts for photocopying under RTI [email protected] 2/- per page.
  3. Kindly refer to the news item published in the Hindu dated 30.05.06 at Encl 2, especially reference therein to Tehkhand project, MoUD Delhi Govt. and MCD (who are represented on the Authority of the DDA as well as in the event reported in the news item under reference) did not file replies in the writ petition in which the final notification dated 23.02.06 issued by the MoUD for land use charges from District Park to Residential has been challenged on grounds, inter alia, that my objections in response to public notice dated 31.5.06 were not considered /heard. On 30.5.06 Hon’ble High Court has directed DDA to give me hearing in two weeks and pass a speaking order before proceeding with confirmation of the highest bid. DDA counsel in the matter was Shri Rajiv Bansal and DDA officials, including Director (Plg) Shri B.K. Jain who has deposed on behalf of the DDA the counter affidavit dated 26.5.06 in the matter, were also present in the court room when the order was pronounced in view also of queries I had raised before the Board at Games Village. Public Notice hearing on 26.5.06 regarding implication of TKC report for hearings. I require the above information before the hearing that has to be given to me on my objections dated 29.9.05 to Tehkhand Public Notice in two weeks by court order dt. 30.5.06.
  4. In case DDA is unable to provide me the requested information before the date if fixes for my hearing kindly let me know as I might wish to modify my request for information for other purposes.”

Attached with the application were copies of news items published in Times of India of 22.5.06 and The Hindu of 30.5.06 headlined “Khanna Panel proposals may find way into MPD” containing a statement of DDA Vice Chairman Sh.Dinesh Raj that the Committee has been formed to study the provisions of the report and “Khanna Committee Report to form basis for the New Master Plan for Delhi” containing a statement of Union Urban Development Minister Shri Jai Paul Reddy that the Tejinder Khanna Committee will form the basis for the new Master Plan for Delhi 2021.

By a response received from Shri B.K. Jain, OSD Planning & PIO dated 6/7-6-2006, however, she was informed as follows :

(i) No directions were issued by MOUD to DDA, concerning the TKC Report, however, there is a reference from MoUD addressed to Secy. GNCTD for setting up of a Committee in this regard. Copy of the same may be collected after depositing a sum of Rs.4/- at Cash Counter of DDA, Vikas Minar from Asstt. Director (MP) 6th floor, Vikas Minar on any working day between 3.00& 5.00 p.m. (ii) There is no agenda/Decision/Resolution relating to TKC report by the Authority (iii) No Committee has been constituted by the Authority for the purpose related to TKC Report (iv) TKC report is on the website of MoUD Govt. of India (v) There is no report available as on date with the comments of DDA on the TKC Report.”

Since the above response was an obvious contradiction to the news reports with no explanation, she moved her first appeal dated 4.8.06 before Shri V.M. Bansal, Principal Comr. Cum Secretary and Appellate Authority in which she reiterated her questions in the application, emphasizing that this was with reference to the two press reports and seeking clarification as to why appellant is, ”i) In receipt of RTI reply dt. 6.6.06 / postmarked 12.6.06 from Shri B.K. Jain that is inconsistent with the press reports enclosed in the RTI Application to Smt. Neemo Dhar (Director PR) confirmed by the Public Notices dt. 22 and 23.7.06 and ii) not in receipt of intimation of inability to furnish reply before hearing on 9.6.06 (para 4 of the Application) to allow modification to the application made without benefit of any s.4 information.”

To this, the reply that she received on 30.9.06 from Shri V.M. Bansal was simply “as is evident the desired information has already been provided by the DDA”.

In response to our appeal notice Sr. Research Officer, RTI Ms. Aparna Raghuram has submitted a letter of 16.1.07 in which she has stated as follows:

“Office of the CIC may kindly indicate which specific information which had been desired by the applicant in her first application made to the PIO has not been supplied, once this is known, desired information shall be passed on by the concerned PIO and Appellate Authority.

The appeal to the Appellate Authority or to the CIC lies only for non furnishing of information as initially requested in the application given to the PIO. The applicant does no have the authority to seek any additional information from the Appellate Authority or through the office of the CIC. In the present case, concerned PIO is Shri B.K. Jain, OSD (Plg) and Appellate Authority is Shri A.K. Jain, Commissioner (Planning).”

In response, vide her letter of 28.1.07 Ms. Gita Dewan Verma urged Shri

V.M. Bansal, Principal Commissioner cum Secretary DDA and first Appellate Authority as follows :

“I urge you to immediately reply to my said letter dated 4.8.07 (enclosed herewith for ready reference, without its enclosures) or alternately, please provide me:

  1. Either your comments (as directed by CIC Notice dated 4.1.07) by way of reasoned denial of my prayer (b) with reference also to the aforesaid subsequent CIC directions;
  2. or copy of the relevant order /direction naming the DDA employee to whom the Authority had assigned the task of replying to communications about the said public notices in general and/or pursuant to decisions/directions of the Board ( as in my case ).

    I specifically request you not to provide me any unsubstantiated information about ‘concerned PIO’ in this regard.”

The appeal was heard on 4.4.07. The following are present :

  1. Ms. Gita Dewan Verma, appellant
  2. Mr. A.K. Manna Jt. Dir. (Plg)
  3. Ms. Aparna Raghuram Sr.R.O. RTI
  4. Lt. Col. N.S.Verma,P.R. Consultant.
  5. Mr. M.P. Anand Asstt. Director
  6. Mr. P.V. Mahashabdey, Dir. (Plg) MPPR
  7. Mr. K.M. Saxena, Dy. Director (Plg) MPPR

During the hearing Shri A.K. Manna Jt. Director Planning and PIO (in place of Mr.B.K. Jain) examined the initial response given by his predecessor Shri B.K. Jain to the initial application of 1.6.06 in which he stated that each of the questions had in fact been responded to. However, in light of the attachments with the application and because the application was made with specific reference to two press reports, which were attached to the application the response was incomplete because it did not address the statement reported to have been made by both the Union Minister for Urban Development and Vice Chairman, DDA. It was this clarification which had been sought in the first appeal which was not given because apparently it was disposed of without a hearing. Appellant Ms. Gita Dewan Verma also stated that in the public hearing which ensued on the subject for which she needed the information sought it was again stated that a Committee had been constituted for the purpose.

DECISION NOTICE

Since there is an obvious contradiction in the information supplied and because the appeal has not been heard, this appeal is now remanded to Shri

V.M. Bansal, Principal Commissioner-cum-Secretary who with the assistance of Shri B.K. Jain OSD Planning who is now the Appellate Authority, re-examine the application, identify all sections of the DDA holding information regarding TKC report and allow for inspection of such documents by Ms. Gita Dewan Verma, providing her copies of relevant documents on the basis of the inspection, as expeditiously as possible and in any case within 30 days of the receipt of this Decision Notice. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.

Announced in the hearing. Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties.

(Wajahat Habibullah)
Chief Information Commissioner
4.4.2007

Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the charges, prescribed under the Act, to the CPIO of this Commission.

(L.C.Singhi)
Addl. Registrar
4.4 .2007