CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Right to Information Act – Section 19
Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2006/00146 Dated: 20.3.2006
- Shri Harphool Singh
- Shri Samay Singh
- Ms Gita Dewan Verma
Respondent D.D.A. / MCD
The Appellant Shri Samay Singh had vide applications dated 4.1.06 & 16.1.06 to PIOs in D.D.A. and M.C.D. asked for the following information regarding TVB School of Habitat Studies, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi :
- Description of permissions for building construction/addition/use, sought by and granted/refused to TVB School of Habitat Studies by DDA/MCD.
- Description of notices in the matter of building construction/use, if any, issued by DDA/MCD to TBV School of Habitat Studies.
The response received from both PIOs was that each had no jurisdiction. Accordingly, first appeal was made on 6.2.06 alleging misleading information. However, on the failure of both Appellate Authorities to provide the information sought, appellant Shri Samay Singh has appealed to this Commission on 20.3.06. In their response to the appeal notice, DDA through Shri R.N. Lal, Director (Building) has indicated that the matter does not pertain to Building Section, DDA and this information was provided to the appellant. In this response it is also mentioned that there has been no correspondence of any kind between the Building Section of DDA and TVB School of Habitat Studies. A hearing for this appeal was scheduled on but we found that while an appeal notice had been served on the DDA none had been served on the MCD with the result that this Public Authority was not present. The hearing was, therefore, rescheduled for 18.8.06. The following are present in the hearing:
- Shri Samay Singh
- Ms. Gita Dewan Dewan Authorised rep. Of Sh. Samay Singh & Shri Harphool Singh
- Shri Harphool Singh
- Sh. S.P.Padhy, Director (LM), DDA, appellate authority
- Sh. K.D.Akolia, Addl.Commr., MCD, appellate authority
- Sh. R.M.Lal, Dir.(Bldg) DDA, PIO
- Sh AK Ambasht D.C.Najafgarh, MCD, PIO
It was argued by representatives of DDA that before 18/3/1993 this property was with MCD and transferred to DDA only after 1993 by which time the structure had been built and was in use. After 1993, the permissions were indeed with DDA, as also stated by Sh AK Ambasht, Deputy Commissioner Najafgarh in his response to the Appeal Notice dated 17/8/’08, but no notices have been issued by DDA. Also because this area was earlier a rural area and has only recently been brought within city limits, it would have been under the administration of Revenue Department. The appellant had made a specific request for particulars of competent officials nominated for purposes of sec. 34A of the Delhi Development Act. This information should normally have been on the website of the DDA since it is of use to all citizens of Delhi, particularly of the concerned neighbourhood. This would be mandatory u/s 4(1) (c ). Shri K.D. Akolia, Addl. Commissioner, MCD also pointed out that the contention of DDA that they had not been in correspondence with the TVB School of Habitat Studies was incorrect. A copy of a letter of January 23, 2006 from Shri AG Krishna Menon Director, TVB School of Habitat Studies addressed to Executive Engineer (Building) MCD, duly endorsed to the AE III Shri CV Singh on 25/1/’06 was presented by PIO, MCD and placed on file, states clearly that, “In 1999, the Society applied to DDA for change of land use so that upon regularization of the land use it could apply for building sanction/completion”. The applications are stated in that letter to have been regularly followed up. A copy of this letter was given to Shri RM Lal Director (Building) DDA during the hearing. A copy of letter No. F.20(3)2001-MP/674 dated 13.11.2002 from Sh AK Manna Jt Director (MP) of DDA referring to letter of 24.9.2002 to the TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi was also shown, a copy of which has been kept on file. Appellants also presented a public notice from DDA indicating that vide order No. 12016/6/2006-DDIB dated 25.7.06 Prof. A.G.K. Menon, Director, TVB School of Habitat Studies has been nominated as Member of a Committee of Experts to look into the issues involved with regard to unauthorised development in the form of Farm Houses as well as unauthorised colonies inhabited by affluent sections of society.
This is a lamentable case of lack of coordination between two principal agencies involved in municipal administration and development of the nation’s capital. The matter could have been resolved easily at the level of Appellate Authority with a simple exchange of telephone calls. PIO Shri RM Lal has been particularly remiss in informing applicant Samay Singh on 19/1/2006 that the matter not being under Building Section of DDA, no information could be provided, without advising, given that the property has been with DDA for over a decade, as to who could provide the information necessary. We take adverse notice of this apathetic attitude towards an application for straightforward information. Because the division of work between the two agencies has obviously not been clearly demarcated in terms of responsibility, no individual is identifiable as liable for penalty u/s 20. However, the two organizations are directed to examine their records and determine between them whether the property in question is indeed authorized or unauthorized and take further action accordingly.
- Since matters of this nature are of public interest, the DDA will immediately place on its website the details of the officials authorized to take action u/s 34A of Delhi Development Act.
- Since the authorization for construction of the TVB School of Habitat Studies has been questioned and could not be established by either organization responsible for regulating this, the DDA is directed to review its orders with regard to membership of the Committee of Experts to look into the issue of unauthorized development.
Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties. Notice also is sent to the office of LG Delhi for considering initiation of measures to streamline coordination between DDA and MCD in his dual capacity as Chairman DDA and Administrator, Delhi
Chief Information Commissioner 22.8.2006
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) 22.8.2006