The illiterate old woman was not receiving her family pension for over 15 years after her husband's death. When the complaint reached the CIC, the PIO promised to make sure that she received her due pension payment. This is the 95th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC) disposed a complaint after the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Employee's Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) promised to ensure that the old woman receives her pension payment if she provides a family photograph as required.
While giving this judgement on 13 May 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The complainant is an illiterate old lady and though her husband had died since 1993, she has not been getting the pension due to her. It may be because of the fact that the complainant is not able to deal with the bureaucratic requirements.”
Upli Kholi (Dist Kangra, Himachal Pradesh) resident Basla Devi, on 13 February 2009 sought information about her pension payment following her husband Parshotam Lal’s death in July 2003, from the PIO of EPFO (North) in Delhi, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
In her RTI application, Basla Devi stated that her husband Parshotam Lal was working as D/O in Food Corporation of India (FCI) in Jalandhar district of Punjab. He expired on 21 July 1993 and the case of grant of family pension was sent to the EPFO officer on 22 October 1996. However, the family pension was not finalised even after more than 15 years. The district manager at FCI wrote several letters, sent telegrams to the EPFO office, but there was no progress.
The PIO, in his reply stated that Basla Devi had not received any payment of pension. “As per this office record, the claim form—in respect of late Parshotam Lal was settled in year 1996 and the pension payment order was to be issued from RPFC, Shimla, but further correspondence in this matter could not be traced in this office. RPFC, Shimla was requested to confirm whether any pension had been sanctioned to the applicant and if not then to depute an enforcement officer (EO) to collect the required forms from the applicant and forward the same to this office. In turn RPFC, Shimla has deputed the EO on 1 June 2010 to visit the residence of the applicant. The report is still awaited and as soon as the report along with the claim paper is received the claim would be settled in 30 days,” the PIO said.
Basla Devi, claiming that the PIO did not provide information on 31 May 2010 filed a complaint before the Commission.
During the hearing, the PIO pointed out that the RTI application had not been received by the department. Basla Devi also was not able to show any proof of sending the RTI application.
Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that “The complainant is an illiterate old lady and during the discussions, it emerges that though her husband had died since 1993, she has not been getting the pension due to her. It may be because of the fact that the complainant is not able to deal with the bureaucratic requirements.”
The PIO said, he had found out that the pension could be provided to her if the photographs, as required, are submitted. He also promised to personally ensure that the pension would be sent to the woman if she sends the photographs to him with the photographs of her children next week.
Mr Gandhi then disposed of the complaint.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000696/12372
Complaint No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000696
Complainant : Basla Devi
VPO Upli Kholi, Tehsil & Dist Kangra,
Respondent : Jaideep Chakravarty,
CPIO & RPFC- II,
Employee's Provident Fund Organization (North),
Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan,
28, Community Centre,
Wazirpur Industrial Area,
Delhi - 110052