RTI Judgement Series: Deemed PIO gave false and misleading information to aid an illegal building
Moneylife Digital Team 23 July 2013

Instead of stating no building plan was sanctioned, the deemed PIO said information was not available. The CIC, then issued a show-cause notice to the deemed PIO for providing the false and misleading information. This is the 139th 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), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the office of Superintending Engineer (B)-II at Rohini Zone of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide specific information sought by the appellant. The CIC also issued a show-cause notice to the deemed PIO who was found guilty of furnishing false and misleading information.

 

While giving this judgement on 21 March 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It appears that this is a collusion with people who construct illegal buildings and misleading information has been given to prolong the matter so that illegal building could be completed before the matter comes to the Commission.”

 

New Delhi resident RH Bansal, on 1 July 2010, sought information about an illegal building from the PIO of MCD. Here is the information he sought and reply provided by the PIO under the Right to Information (RTI) Act...

 

1. Whether the map of above said building was approved.       

PIO's reply: The information is not available in the office of the Executive Engineer.

 

2. Whether the above said building was made as per map.      

PIO's reply: As above

 

3. Certified copy of the approved map. 

PIO's reply: As above

 

4. What was the duty of engineers of concerned area?    

PIO's reply: Information sought is not under the preview of RTI Act, 2005.

 

Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Bansal filed his first appeal. In his order the First Appellate Authority (FAA) stated that he had gone through the appeal memo and reply furnished by the PIO. “The grievance of the appellant is that he has not received the reply. However the PIO stated that the reply has already been furnished to the applicant. A copy of the same was handed over to the appellant during the proceedings. The appellant is now satisfied,” the FAA said in his order.

 

Bansal then approached the CIC with his second appeal stating unsatisfactory reply provided by the PIO.

 

During the hearing before Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, the PIO admitted that the plan of the said building would have to be sanctioned by his office and it appeared that an illegal building had been constructed.

 

Bansal, however pointed out that the illegal building was completed and he was informed that a sanctioned building plan was not available in the office of the Superintending Engineer (B)-II, Rohini Zone, in Delhi. He also told the Bench that a building was being constructed when he filed the RTI application.

 

Mr Gandhi noted that since the PIO agreed that the building plan would have to be sanctioned by his office only, the information, which should have been provided was that no building plan had been sanctioned. “It is apparent that clear information was not given. If the plan could have been sanctioned by some other office, then the RTI application should have been transferred under Section-6(3) or assistance could have been sought under Section-5(4) of the RTI Act,” the CIC noted.

 

The PIO MP Gupta pointed out that the person responsible for giving this irrelevant information was KR Meena, assistant engineer (B). Meena, the deemed PIO, was also present during the hearing, but did not give any explanation for providing the false and misleading information.

 

Mr Gandhi, the CIC, asked the deemed PIO Meena to explain the reasons for giving such misleading and false information. Meena stated that in future he would correct this mistake.

 

While allowing the appeal, the Bench said, “The information that should have been provided was that no building plan had been sanctioned. Instead, information was provided stating that the information was not available in this office. It appears that this is collusion with people who construct illegal buildings and misleading information has been given to prolong the matter so that illegal building could be completed before the matter comes to the Commission.”

 

Mr Gandhi then directed the PIO to give specific information to Bansal before 30 March 2011.

 

From the facts, the Bench said, it found the deemed PIO guilty of furnishing false and misleading information. Mr Gandhi then issued a show-cause notice to Meena, the deemed PIO, directing him to give his reasons to the CIC as to why penalty should not be imposed upon him for furnishing false and misleading information.

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

 

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000123/11564

https://ciconline.nic.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_A_2011_000123_M_53465.pdf

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000123

 

Appellant                                        : RH Bansal

                                                            Phase-II, New Delhi     

         

Respondent                                    : MP Gupta

                                                            Public Information Officer & SE-II

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            O/o Superintending Engineer (B)-II, Rohini Zone,

                                                            Sector-5, Delhi-110085

Comments
ashwin bahl
9 years ago
speechless but that is what goes on under the garb of some section of the law, or no law !
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