CENT RAL IN FORMATI ON COMMI SSION
Adjunct to Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2006/00537 dated 23.8.2006
Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19
Appellant - Shri Ajit Singh Malik
Respondent - Delhi Development Authority
O R D E R
In our Decision Notice of 20.4.2007, we had directed as follows:-
“We direct Shri A.K. Gupta, Addl. Commissioner (Planning-II), whose department is primarily responsible for maintaining the records of the information sought, will obtain the information from all the necessary authorities and provide this to applicant Shri Ajit Singh Malik within 15 working days of the date of issue of this Decision Notice. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
However, the issue of delay in providing the information now needs to be addressed. During the hearing no satisfactory explanation could be provided for this. Even though appellant has not questioned the sincerity of the PIOs in this matter, as held by us in the case of Er. Sarbajit Roy Vs. D.D.A., (Vide Appeal No. 10/1/2005-CIC dated 7.8.06), it is the primary responsibility of the CPIO to whom the application is submitted to obtain and provide the information to applicant. That order concern the very public authority which are respondents in this case and, therefore, there is little excuse for the failure to adhere to this direction in the present application. Shri O.P. Mishra, OSD (Lands) to whom the initial application was forwarded by the RTI Counter in DDA and Shri Rakesh Bhatnagar to whom the application was addressed by applicant will, therefore, appear before the undersigned on 25.5.2007 at 10.00 a.m. or submit the reasons for this lapse in writing by 5.5.2007.”
Accordingly, we have received a response from Shri Rakesh Bhatnagar, Director H-1 dated nil ( received on 5.5.07), from Dy. Director (UC) dated 14.5.07, from Shri Raman Kumar, Asstt. Director for Appellate Authority of 21.5.07, from Shri Pankaj Kumar Dy. Director CL of 22.5.07 and Shri O.P. Mishra dated 5.5.07. Copies of all these responses may be provided to appellant Shri Ajit Singh Malik, as requested by him.
In the letter of 14.5.07 addressed to Appellant Shri Ajit Singh Malik with a copy endorsed to us, Dy. Director UC, signing for Appellate Authority has indicated that as a result of a meeting between officers of the CL, Building, Planning and AP-1 Departments, all information selected on the affidavit on which information had been sought, has been put together and provided to appellant. Appellant on the other hand has submitted a letter of 21.5.2007 pointing to certain inadequacies perceived in the information provided.
The matter was heard on 5.6.07. The following are present:
- Mr. Ajit Singh Malik, Appellant.
- Ms. Gita Dewan Verma (Auth. Representative)
- Mr. R. Bhatnagar, Dir. (H)-1, DDA
- Mr. Pankaj Kumar Dy. Director (CL)
- Mr. O.P. Mishra, OSD (CM-1)
We note that the questions in the original application dated 9.3.06 originate from a single source: the basis of which an affidavit had been filed in Feb.,2005. Again in our decision of 20.4.07 we had reiterated that the information sought is related only to an affidavit presented by the public authority itself. We had, therefore, directed Shri A.K. Gupta, Addl. Commissioner (Plg.II) to act as a Coordinating Authority to gather the information on the basis of which the affidavit had been sworn and provide the same to appellant Shri Malik. We now find that such information as is available with the DDA on the subject, has been provided. However, this was without clarifying that there is no further information with the DDA on the questions regarding the affidavit that were raised by appellant Shri Ajit Singh Malik in his original application. In the hearing, however, it has been confirmed by all present who represent different wings of the DDA that in fact such information as is held by the public authority, in this case the DDA, has been provided. If there is further information that is required by appellant Shri Ajit Singh Malik related to but not the basis of the affidavit, he has been advised of the Departments from which this can be obtained.
In light of the above, we have revisited our orders of 20.4.07 in which we had diorected that the issue of delay in providing the information now needs to be addressed. We find that this delay has arisen through a genuine confusion regarding what can be provided and from where it can be accessed. While we, therefore, cannot find any single Wing of the DDA or official responsible for this delay, we find nothing to allay the adverse view that we had taken on the manner in which the simple information sought has actually been processed. This has been a case where information has been sought to be created where it did not exist, instead of simply providing the information as existed to appellant Shri Ajit Singh Malik to enable him to take alternative recourse to means of redress. We hope, however, that as a result of this exercise, concerning a large section of the DDA, the machinery for responding to requests for information under the RTI Act 2005 will be suitably rejuvenated and rendered more applicant friendly.
With these observations, this regrettably prolonged process is now closed.
The full order was announced in the hearing. Notice of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Chief Information Commissioner
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.