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Central Information CommissionCIC/OK/A/2008/00766-ADDated May 19, 2009Name of the Applicant : Maj. [Retd.] P M RavindranNa...
Construction, Southern Railway reiterating the transfer of the RTI application videletter dated 09.10.2007 and also statin...
Decision8. The Appellant in his Appeal before the Commission reiterated the contents of theRTI application as also the ent...
progress have been provided at all. Hence the Commission hereby directs thatcomplete information be provided now. With res...
the expenses incurred by him on stationery and secretarial assistance , by 20June, 2009, under intimation to the Commissio...
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The best order by an information commissioner under the right to information act

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This is the best order from an Information Commissioner that I have got till date. The IC had failed only on one count- in imposing the mandatory penalty which should have been Rs 25000/- but she, Ms Annapurna Dixit, in her adjunct, dated 16/06/2009 to this order had calculated only the days from her 1st order till the adjunct was issued, for calculating the penalty. The law demands imposing penalty for the delay in providing the information sought after 30 days of filing the application.

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The best order by an information commissioner under the right to information act

  1. 1. Central Information CommissionCIC/OK/A/2008/00766-ADDated May 19, 2009Name of the Applicant : Maj. [Retd.] P M RavindranName of the Public Authority : Southern RailwayBackground1. The Applicant filed an RTI application dated 01.10.2007 seeking informationabout construction of Railway Bridges and Flyovers and about the formation of theSalem Division from the PIO, Divisional Office, Southern Railway, Palakkad. Thevarious points on which information were sought are as follows:1.1. Copies of orders for the formation of the Salem Division including verbalorders, date of receipt of orders, authority issuing such orders etc.1.2. With respect to the Railway overbridges under-construction in the PalakkadDivision (including those that are likely to come under the Salem Division,when formed):1.2.1. Total number of bridges,1.2.2. For each bridge:1.2.2.1. Estimated cost of construction;1.2.2.2. Details of the contractor who has been awarded the contract andthe cost for which it was awarded;1.2.2.3. Quantum of work (as a percentage of the complete work) thathas been completed, amount paid for the completed work, billspending for the completed work, reasons for non-completion ofwork, authority responsible for progressing the work, highestofficial responsible for monitoring and taking decisions related tothe work and their addresses, email id etc, cost of escalationexpected and the date by which the work is expected to becompleted.2. The PIO, Palghat transferred the RTI application to the Constructionorganisation/Salem and Podanur vide his letter dated 09.10.2007. When despitepassage of stipulated period the information as sought by the Appellant was notfurnished, the Appellant sought redressal of his grievance by filing of the FirstAppeal dated 23.11.2007. Apart from the RTI application, the Appellant in thesaid First Appeal also specifically referred to the provisions of the Sections 7(3)(b), 7(6) and Section 20 of the RTI Act 2005. On the same date, viz. 23.11.07the Divisional Railway Manager[Works] addressed a letter to the PIO,
  2. 2. Construction, Southern Railway reiterating the transfer of the RTI application videletter dated 09.10.2007 and also stating that a reminder from the Appellant wasbeing forwarded therewith.3. The Appellant challenged the contents of the letter dated 23.11.2007 issued bythe Divisional Railway Manager vide another First Appeal dated 03.12.2007contending that the First Appeal invoking provisions of Section 19(1) of the RTIAct 2005, submitted by the Appellant on 23.11.2007 had been wrongly termed asa reminder while transferring the same. While referring to the provisions ofSection 5(2), 7(6) and 20 of the RTI Act 2005, the Appellant furthermore arguedthat since orders were received by the Palakkad Division for the formation of theSalem Division, the information sought has nothing to do with the Salem Divisionor the zonal office per se, and insisted that the said information be provided bythe Palakkad Division itself.4. The Respondent Public Authority provided some information along with theGazette notification indicating the formation of the Salem division vide lettersdated 01.01.2008, 03.01.2008 and 14.01.2008 issued by the ChiefEngineer/S&RB & PIO CN/S Rly/Chennai Egmore -8. However, the informationsupplied was inadequate and the Appellant accordingly responded back vide letterdated 10.01.2008.5. Being dissatisfied with the incomplete and inadequate information supplied by theRespondent Public Authority in piece meal, the Appellant filed an Appeal on18.04.2008 before the CIC.6. The Bench of Mrs. Annapurna Dixit, Information Commissioner, scheduled thehearing for May 15, 2009 and a communication dated 29.04.2009 was accordinglysent to the parties intimating the date of hearing of the appeal. At the request ofthe Appellant vide email dated May 6, 2009 seeking exemption from personalappearance and requesting for video conference, the hearing was re-scheduled forMay 26, 2009 to be held through video conference and a communication dated15.05.2009 was accordingly sent to the parties intimating the changed date ofhearing of the appeal.7. Mr. Sitaraman, Appellate Authority and Mr. Kandaswamy, PIO were present fromthe Palakkad Division, while Mr. R T Diwakar, CPIO and Mr. Jayagopal,APIO(Construction, Chennai) were present through Video Conferencing from theChennai Division of the Public Authority.8. Maj. [Retd.] P M Ravindran, was present through Video Conferencing during thehearing.
  3. 3. Decision8. The Appellant in his Appeal before the Commission reiterated the contents of theRTI application as also the entire sequence of events till date. The Respondentssubmitted their response to the appeal vide communication dated 19.05.2009.The Respondent Public Authority through Addl. DRM/PGT informed the CIC aboutthe various developments in the matter which are nothing but basically arepetition of the submissions as made by the Appellant. Admittedly theinformation provided by Respondent Public Authority vide letter numberW.571/CN/PTJ dated 01.01.2008 was incomplete. However since the PalghatDivision held limited information pertaining to only the query no. 1.1 of the RTIapplication, which has already been provided, the Addl. DRM/PGT vide hiscommunication dated 19.05.2009 sought that the CE/S & RB/CN/MS also remainpresent during the hearing vide Video Conference on 26.05.2009.9. The Commission received an email from the Appellant dated 25.05.2009reporting about the receipt of some information spread over 21 pages receivedfrom the Respondent Public Authority and yet being incomplete and unreliableinformation. From the perusal of the records as also the various submissionsmade by both parties from time to time, the Commission concludes that a point-wise decision is called for in the matter taking care of each information sought bythe Appellant. With reference to e-mail dated 25.5.09, it is observed fromarguments submitted during the hearing, that the Appellant was dissatisfied withthe information received about the estimated cost of construction, while theRespondents submitted that all available information in this regard has alreadybeen provided. Hence it was agreed that the concerned Respondent shall furnishan Affidavit with regard to the point 1.2.2.1 stating that no further informationabout the cost of construction was available with the Respondent Public Authorityalso giving the particulars about the 5 out of 78 cases in which no informationhas been provided at all. The information about the current status indicatingthe details of the contractors who have been awarded the contract and the cost atwhich the contract has been awarded as sought by the Appellant in the point1.2.2.2. is directed to be furnished. In so far as information sought against point1.2.2.3 is concerned, about the quantum of work completed, the information wassought by the Appellant in relation to the estimated budget amount, actualamount spent on the construction and the ratio of the projected budget as againstthe amount spent reflecting the ratio/portion of work completed. Accordingly theinformation about the quantum of work completed may be provided as a ratio ofthe total estimated cost of construction. It is pertinent to note here thatinformation about only 16 out of 37 cases where such construction work is in
  4. 4. progress have been provided at all. Hence the Commission hereby directs thatcomplete information be provided now. With respect to the information soughtabout the reasons for non completion of the work (1.2.2.3.4), the predicted datesof completion of projects may be given by the Respondent. Information like‘Work in progress’, ‘GAD not approved’, ‘50% work completed’ etc. , provided onlyin only 6 cases, were found inadequate and are definitely not acceptable. Hencethe Respondent Public Authority is directed to provide proper reasons as per theterms/ factors built in the project proposal and terms stipulated in the contractfor all cases and not just 6. Any information from the file records, file notings,correspondences etc., reasoning such delay of the work, shall be provided fromthe official records. However, in the event that no such information is available onthe official records/files etc, besides that already furnished to the Appellant, theRespondent Public Authority shall furnish an Affidavit stating so. The Commissionalso directs that with respect to the remaining information , as sought by theAppellant (ref. e-mail dated 25.5.09) , all information as it exists in the officialrecords with the Public Authority or with any other Public Authority (after transferof the RTI request under intimation to the Appellant) may be furnished to theAppellant along with the aforementioned Affidavit by 30 June, 2009.10. The PIOs are also directed to show cause why a penalty of Rs. 250/- per dayshould not be imposed on them for not providing complete information to theAppellant within the mandatory period stipulated in the RTI Act.. A writtenresponse to this may be furnished to the Commission by the Respondents before16 June 2009. Both the Respondents (Palakkad and Chennai) will also be heardvia videoconference on 16 June, 2009 at 3p.m. in this regard.11. As pointed out by the Commissioner during the hearing, the Appellant has soughta compensation of Rs.1000/- under Section 19(8)(b) for detriment suffered inpursuing this appeal . It is the Commission’s considered opinion that ‘publicinterest’ is central to democracy and the nature of government itself and that theAppellant has suffered detriment in pursuit of an important issue in the interestof ‘general welfare’ and ‘common well being’ in terms of physical and mentalharassment which he had to undergo and also of expenses incurred by him onstationery and on secretarial assistance. Accordingly, the Commission directs thePublic Authority to compensate the Appellant by paying him Rs. 1000/- to meet
  5. 5. the expenses incurred by him on stationery and secretarial assistance , by 20June, 2009, under intimation to the Commission.12. The appeal is accordingly disposed of on the above terms.(Annapurna Dixit)Information CommissionerAuthenticated true copy:(G. Subramanian)Asst. RegistrarCc:1. Major (Retd.) P M Ravindran2/18, ‘Aathira’, SivapuriKalpathy – 678 0032. The Public Information OfficerSouthern RailwayO/o Chief Administrative Officer(Construction),EgmoreChennai -83. The Public Information OfficerSouthern RailwayO/o Chief Administrative Officer(Construction),EgmoreChennai -84. The PIODivision Office, Southern RailwayPalakkad,Kerala5. The Appellate AuthorityDivisional Office, Southern RailwayPalakkad,Kerala6. Officer in charge, NIC7. Press E Group, CIC

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