CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Right to Information Act, 2005 – Section 19
Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2006/00113 Dated: 13.3.2006
Appellant: Shri Harphool Singh
Respondent: Commissioner (Planning) and Commissioner (LM), D.D.A.
Shri Harphool Singh of Belagaon, Rajghat, New Delhi applied to Shri P.M.Parate, Director, (RYP) & PIO, DDA on 23.1.06 requesting information about overall demolition plans prepared for all unauthorized structures/uses on the river bed by DDA Planning Department as per Master Plan and all relevant Court orders on the basis of which DDA Land Department proposes to effect demolition in Pushta. The information was requested within 48 hours under proviso to sec. 7(1) of the R.T.I. Act because it was alleged that during DDA demolitions in Pushta in 2005, there were instances of deaths. Director (RYP) replied on 25.1.06 indicating that demolition programs were undertaken by the Land Management Department of DDA and Planning Department, therefore, had no information on the subject. On not getting the information requested under the 48 hours proviso, the appellant went in appeal to Shri R.K.Vats, Commissioner (LM) Delhi on Feb. 2, 2006 on the following grounds:
The Appellants had requested information under s. 6(1) under the 48-hour proviso to sec 7(1). They received in 48 hours neither intimation of decision to provide the information nor communication of rejection. Their RTI requests, as well as transfer dated 25.01.06 of their requests deposited at Vikas Minar, are thus deemed to have been refused by the concerned PIO.
The information requested was liable to be disclosed to all affected residents under s. 4(1)(d) and resort to RTI applications was necessitated by failure on that count, persisting despite e-mail request of 20.01.06 by Ms. Verma, hand-delivered letters of on behalf of all by Appellants 9 & 10 and e–mail request of 26.01.06 by Ms. Prakash.
Information, inclusive of copies of court orders is said to have been disclosed, outside the ambit of RTI Act to political persons, who were alleged to have deployed it against the interests of affected persons (and it was claimed that from the transfer intimation letters from Planning Wing it appears to the appellants that this disclosure could have occurred only from Land Management Dep’t.)
No steps were taken to prevent the RTI requests of the Appellants from becoming in fructuous and during their pendency, well beyond the stipulated time frame, bulldozers were deployed by Land Management Department for two days.
Replies have not been provided even after creating confusion, by deploying bulldozers without effecting demolitions, of which political persons appeared to appellants to be taking advantage on the basis of information that they somehow have.
However, the appeal bears the signatures of only three appellants – Sh. Mohd. Intezar, Sh. Harphool Singh and Sh. Nizammuddin. Shri Nizammuddin made his second appeal to this Commission on 24/25-2-06 on which a decision notice has been issued on 18.7.2006. The Appeal of Shri Harphool Singh is dated 13.3.2006. As in the case of Nizammuddin vs. DDA, in this case also the appeal is against the orders of Appellate Authority Shri R.K.Vats, Commissioner (LM) of 28.2.2006. In both cases the orders of the Appellate Authority were issued on 16.3.2006 (with the dates wrongly mentioned as 6.3.06 in the response of the Appellate Authority to the present appeal notice received in his letter of 30.6.06).
Appellant Shri Harphool Singh and Smt. Gita Dewan Verma, authorized representative are present in the hearing on 18.8.2006 together with Shri S.P.Padhy of DDA and Shri RM Lal Director (Bldg), DDA. Shri S.P.Padhy informed us that he is the Appellate Authority in this case, having replaced Shri RK Vats, Commissioner (LM) in that capacity.
This matter has been disposed of in disposing of Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2006/00128 dated 18.7.2006. Nizamuddin vs DDA. In that case it was decided as follows:
- “The DDA is directed that in cases of this nature adherence to sections 4(1) (c) and (d) must be ensured by publication of all relevant facts and provisions of reasons for decisions to affected persons”.
This directive is applicable in identical manner in the present case
- “ In the present case the CPIO could have been held responsible …. had the 48 hours proviso been applied in this case, however, the manner of application of 48 hours proviso has not been formalized and this can be taken as reasonable cause to the CPIO to provide information sought within the 30 days time limit in Sec. 7(1), in a matter that is also sub-judice. PIO Shri Parate, Director (RYP) Planning is also in violation of the Act for having refused information even though he is part of the same public authority, as averred in his letter of January 25, 2006 cited above. We have held in Appeal No. 10/1/2005-CIC Sarbajit Roy vs. DDA of 20/2/06 that in a single public authority, on matters concerning adjustments within the same public authority the CPIO who had received the request from the complainant, was, as per sec. 7(1) of the Act under obligation to seek information from his/her colleague and provide it to the complainant. The colleague who was to provide the information as per sec. 5(5) of the RTI Act, would become deemed CPIO and expected to provide the information sought by the Complainant. However, we made the above ruling after PIO Shri Parate had written his letter of 25.1.06. While, therefore, no penalty is imposed in this case, the Appellate Authority Shri Vats has committed before this Commission that his department is willing to work with all those who are affected by eviction orders to ensure mitigation of the rigors of dislocation inevitable in such an enterprise. Both parties are, therefore, advised to work together in this salutary objective. “
Authorised representative of the appellant Ms Verma states that despite the commitment of the Appellate Authority Shri R.K. Vats before the Commission, the DDA has not adhered to this directive in the present case. Efforts of appellant to seek assistance from executives of DDA have proved frustrating. Even though Shri Vats may not be Appellate Authority any longer, the commitment made before this Commission still holds, both in his continuing capacity as Commissioner and also by the present Appellate Authority together with any successors and the CPIO. This appeal is disposed of accordingly.
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.