CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMI SSION
Appeal Nos.CIC/WB/C/2006/00240 & 241 both dated 17.11.06 Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 18
Appellant - Shri Rakesh Kumar Athwal
- D.C. Office (South West Distt.) Delhi.
- Slum & JJ Dep’t., M.C.D. Delhi
These are two appeals from Shri Rajesh Kumar Athwal of Nangal Dairy, Old Gurgaon Road, - one referring to DC Office, South West Delhi and the other to the Slum & JJ Department of MCD. Both the applications were made on 10.10.06.
On not receiving a reply from Office of D.C. South West and dissatisfied with the reply from MCD Shri Athwal complaint in both cases to us directly. On that complaint we had directed as follows:
“We find in neither case has complainant Shri Athwal taken recourse to a first appeal, nor has any reason been given for not taking such recourse. In light of this both cases are remanded to Appellate Authorities in both public authorities under the RTI Act for deciding on supply of information in these matters under intimation to us within 15 days of the date of issue of these orders.”
However, the response to Shri Athwal was sent on 5.2.07 by Shri K.K. Dahia PIO and ADM South West and on 29.1.07 from PIO, S&JJ Dep’t. MCD. The information provided by ADM South West under ID No. 144 in File No.CIC/WB/C/2006/00240 was as follows:
“1. As regards the information sought in Para 1 of the RTI application, it is inform that there is no award bearing No. 1984 in this office. The said land is awarded vide No. 77/86- 87.
2. As regards information sought in Para II of the application it is inform that the Award No. 01/97-98 have been deposited in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Palam
Potteries vs. Union of India. The same has been deposited on 11.5.2006.
3. Since the file is deposited in Supreme Court of India, the inspection of file is not possible at the moment.
4. As above.”
The PIO S&JJ Dep’t. MCD on the other hand provided information expanding on information earlier provided as follows:
“Point No. 1 Copy of the orders of Resettlement of Nangal Dairy and Nangal Dewat Jhuggie basti may be obtained from Director (Sur)
Point No. 2 Plan of the Savda Ghevra Resettlement Scheme is attached.
Point No. 3 Copy of the Approval of the scheme of Savda-Ghevra as conveyed by Deputy Secretary (UD) forwarding therewith Cabinet Decision No. 1047 dated 30.3.2006 is attached.
Point No. 4 The Slum & JJ Department is developing Savda- Ghevra in three phases i.e. Phase I, II & III. In Phase-1 & II developmental works have been started and are in full swing. In phase III there is a planning of construction of low cost housing for JJ dwellers.”
In both these cases a rejoinder has been received from Ms. Gita Dewan Verma representing appellant Shri Athwal. In the case of ID No. 144 her prayer is as follows:
a. Point-wise reply therein only conveys that information about acquisition award that was basis of public notice dated 04/10/06 (and subsequent eviction) cannot be provided because records were deposited in Supreme Court on 11/05/06. This is patently evasive, as apparent from the fact that PIO has not answered even Pt.No.4 concerning provisions in force at time of award (and not the award per se). PIO may kindly be directed to furnish either reply or statement on oath that public notice dated 04/10/06 was issued (and consequent eviction of about 2000 families was effected) on basis of an award whose records were not available in office.
b. No reason is given for failure to provide even this reply within 30 days from application dated 11/10/06 or within 15 days from Decision dated 29/12/06. Penalties may kindly be imposed for delay in accordance with the Act.
In the case in File No.CIC/WB/C/2006/00241 pertaining to M.C.D., the following is the plea:
“(b) There are discrepancies between replies dated 08/11/06 and 29/01/07, as under:
- Reply dated 29/01/07 vaguely states that “a request was received from Delhi International Airport Ltd to relocate the JJ clusters”, whereas reply dated 08/11/06 had referred in this regard only to Chief Secretary’s instruction in meeting dated 20/09/06. In view of the discrepancy, PIO may be directed to furnish copy of the request of the DIAL, along with relevant information about the basis on which such requests from private parties are entertained by the Dep’t.
- Reply dated 29/01/07 states that “Upon receipt of request a joint survey was organized… As per the joint survey there were 1992 jhuggi families.” Reply dated 08/11/06, however, had not indicated any joint-survey with DIAL and the number of families was stated (in minutes of meeting dated 20/09/06) as 1819. In view of the discrepancy, PIO may be directed to furnish full details of joint- survey by which information of families including that of the Complainant was collected on request of and jointly with a private party.
- Reply dated 29/01/07 vaguely states that “In Phase-III, there is a planning of constructi on of low cost housing for JJ dwellers”; whereas reply dated 08/11/06 had not mentioned any such proposal. In view of the discrepancy, PIO may be directed to disclose full details of the vaguely indicated ‘planning of low cost housing’, including who is planning the same for whom and under what statutory provisions.
These are now therefore treated as fresh appeals. Both appeals were heard together on 28.6.07. The following are present:
- Ms. Gita Dewan Verma – Authorised rep. of Appellant.
- Mr. Rajeev Kumar, N.T. (LA)
- Ms. Chandra Y. Reddy, D.C.-cum-F.A.
- Mr. O.P. Verma, C.E. (Slum)
Ms. Gita Dewan Verma presented an authority letter from Shri Rajesh Kumar Athwal, appellant for appearing before us, which has been placed in the file.
We have found in earlier cases pertaining to D.D.A. with regard to relocation of slum dwellers that the information regarding demolition and relocation must find place in publication of facts u/s 4 (1) d) and the obligation of public authorities to provide information suo moto as demanded u/s 4(2). Sec. 4(1) (d) states as follows:
“provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons.”
This provision would be of specific application to the Slum & JJ Dep’t. of MCD as well as offices like that of D.C. South West Distt. Delhi in operations of land acquisition and relocation. Both these Departments are, therefore, advised to speed up their compliance with the requirement of sec. 4(1) and especially with reference to sec. 4(1) (d).
After having heard arguments and examined the records the following are our directions:
- PIO, Office of D.C. South West Delhi will provide within 15 working days the information sought by appellant Shri Athwal on all items mentioned in his application of 10.6.06 which could not be provided hitherto because of the file having been with the Hon’ble Supreme Court. This direction is given in light of the fact that the case before the Hon’ble Supreme Court is now reported by the CPIO to have concluded.
- With regard to Slum & JJ Dep’t. of the MCD, the initial request for information of 10.10.’06 has specifically asked for information both regarding Nangal Dairy and Nangal Dewat. Although responses to most questions have been received, there is no specific reference to Nangal Dairy in the response from the M.C.D. The CPIO MCD will, therefore, confirm that copies of orders for resettlement in Savda Gevra provided for Nangal Dewat Jhughi Basti includes Nangal Dairy and, if not, provide to appellant Shri Athwal the proposed rehabilitation for residents of Nangal Dairy. He will also provide a copy of the proposal contained in paragraph 8 of the Cabinet Note which was considered and approved by the Council of Ministers in Cabinet Decision No. 1047 dated 30.3.06, in accordance with Proviso I to Sec 8(1) i) of the RTI Act, 2005, a copy of which Decision, though without the note, has been attached with his response to our Order in his letter of 9.1.07, addressed to Shri Athwal, appellant.
We find in both these cases that although directions had been given that the appeals be disposed of within 15 days of the date of our Decision i.e. 29.12.06, it will be clear that these limits have been transgressed in responding to the outstanding information sought in both cases. Sec. 20(1) of the RTI Act lays down that if the CPIO ‘without any reasonable cause’ has not furnished the information within the time specified under sub sec. (1) of sec. 7, the Commission shall impose a penalty of Rs. 250/- a day till application is received or information is furnished. In this case, however, the delay in providing information sought is after issue of our Notice on the basis of a complaint, which cannot be construed to mean a transgression of Sec 7(1). That would apply to the treatment of the original application. In this case the applicant received a reply to his application of 10.10.’06 from PIO, (S&JJ Dept.) MCD on 7.11.’06, which is within the mandated time frame.
However in the case concerning DC South West, the response was received only after our orders on the complaint on 5.2.’07. This is in clear violation of the time frame prescribed u/s 7 (1). Addl. District Magistrate South West who is PIO in that Department will, therefore, now Show Cause either in writing or by personal appearance before us on 31.7.07 at 10.00 a.m. as to why a penalty @ Rs. 250/- per day up to a maximum of Rs. 25.000/- should not be imposed upon him for his failure to respond to application of Shri Athwal from 11.11.06 when the information sought became due, to 5.2.’07 when the response was sent.
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.