CENT RAL IN FORMATI ON COMMI SSION
Adjunct to Appeal Nos.CIC/WB/A/2006/00395 & 396 both dated 30.6.2006
Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19
Appellant - Shri Rajinder Singh
(1) Deptt. Of UD GNCT Delhi
(2) Ministry of Urban Development.
Vide our decision notice 13-2-2007 we had directed as follows:
“We are unable to find any justification for what must be deemed refusal of information. We cannot accept a simple note from an official referring to a telephone conversation as convincing evidence of refusal by appellant to attend in hearing in appeal in the absence of any supporting document like a written notice. Moreover, this in no way condones the fact that the appeal has been simply allowed to lapse. Shri S.K. Saxena Jt. Secy. UD has assured us that he has issued a memo to the officers responsible for the delay. He is directed to also issue a Show cause notice to all such officers to explain as to why they should not be penalized @ Rs. 250/- per day for every day since the application was made to the time that all the information is made available to appellant Shri Rajinder Singh and send us a copy of the response identifying the amount for which each of the officers is liable. This report should be submitted to us by 8.3.07 at 10.30 a.m. on which date we will be prepared to hear any personal explanation from any of the officers so identified before the penalty is imposed.”
Accordingly a response has been received from Shri S.K. Saxena, Addl. Secretary, UD & PIO, Department of Urban Development, GNCT, Delhi attaching therewith copies of the show cause notice issued to the following:
- Shri Madhukar, Joint Secretary (MB), UD Deptt
- Shri Manoj Aggarwal, Dy. Secretary (MB), UD Deptt.
- Shri V.P. Munjal, H.C. (MB) now Supdt. (Edn.)
together with the response of each.
Addl. Secretary has further pleaded that there was confusion within the Department with regard to an earlier application of Ms. Gita Dewan Verma which had been responded to and the present application in which Ms. Gita Dewan Verma has appeared as authorized representative of Shri Rajinder Singh, hence the delay in response, which as Additional Secretary and PIO Shri S.K. Saxena has conceded was in fact quite simple.
The following have appeared before us on 14-3-2007 in connection with the show cause notice issued:
- Shri S.K. Saxena, Addl. Secretary (UF), PIO, GNCT Delhi
- Shri Krishan Singh, Dy. Director (Plg) APIO GNCT Delhi
- Shri Manoj Aggarwal, Dy. Secretary (MB), GNCT Delhi
- Shri V.K. Gupta, AD (UD), GNCT Delhi
We find that in lieu of explanation received and the justifications presented by PIO, it would be unfair to impose a financial penalty u/s 20 (1). However, we are also unable in the light of our decision above cited to find justification for what appears to be deemed refusal, even conceding that the failure to respond resulted from confusion in the identity of the applications. This is exactly the kind of confusion that the Public Authority has sought to eliminate by allocation of separate IDs to each application. Under the circumstances we propose that a warning may be issued to each of the concerned officials under the established procedure of disciplinary action under rules within the GNCT Delhi, as mandated by Section 20 (2), under intimation to us.
Announced. Notice of this decision 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.