The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) and Superintending Engineer of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), to provide information about an unauthorised construction to the appellant.
While giving this judgement on 19 August 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “In the instant case, it is apparent that the property is unauthorized construction for which a Court has ordered removal. MCD officers appear to be not following the Court orders and in fact appear to be colluding in getting it regularised and thereby putting the cloak of legality on this.”
New Delhi resident Raja Ram, on 28 March 2011, sought from the PIO information about documents submitted by Tulsi Ram Yadav, the owner of the property located at T-450, Gali No21, Durga Mohalla, Baljeet Nagar, Anand Parbat, New Delhi. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act...
"I, the undersigned Applicant being the Attorney had contested the Case bearing No2418/2008 titled as Sukhdev Singh v/s Tulsi Ram Yadav & others, for getting removed the illegal and unauthorized construction raised after making encroachment on public land and the property is known as T-450, Gali No.21, Durga Mohalla, Baljeet Nagar, Anand Parbat, New Delhi and the said case has been decided vide orders dated 29 September 2010 thereby ordering for removal of the illegal and unauthorized constructions in the said property.
It is, therefore requested that the Copies of the documents as mentioned at Serial No1 to 6 in the application dated 29 October 2010 may kindly be provided to me under the Right to Information Act 2005."
The PIO denied providing the information citing it as related with third party. "The documents filed by Tulsi Ram Yadav in regularization file of PNo 450, Gali No21, Durga Mohalla, Baljeet Nagar, New Delhi relates to third person and cannot be provided under S (e) & (3) of RTT Act, 2005," the PIO said in his reply.
Ram, citing unsatisfactory information given by the PIO, filed his first appeal. While disposing the appeal, the First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order said, "Appellant stated that he has not received the reply of his RTI application (while the) PIO clarified that reply was sent to the RTI applicant (Ram). Perusal of appeal application filed by the appellant reveals that a copy of the reply has been attached with it by the appellant. However, afresh photocopy of the reply is handed over to the appellant. The appeal is disposed off."
Citing unsatisfactory information given by the PIO and unsatisfactory order passed by the FAA, the appellant (Ram) approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that the appellant sought information about a property that was termed as unauthorised and asked to be removed by the Court. However, the owner (of the property) appears to have submitted an application for regularisation and MCD officers appear to be colluding in flouting the orders of the Court.
The Bench said, "The PIO has refused to give the information stating that this is third party information and he has not even bothered to justify his denial of information by quoting any exemption clause of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. It appears to the Commission that the denial of information was clearly unreasonable and perhaps malafide."
While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi directed the PIO to provide information to Raja Ram before 30 August 2011.
The CIC found the PIO guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act. "It appears that the PIO's actions attract the penal provisions of Section 20 (1). A show cause notice is being issued to him, and he is directed to give his reasons to the Commission to show cause why penalty should not be levied on him," Mr Gandhi said in his order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/001795/14167
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/001795
Appellant : Raja Ram,
Respondent : Suresh Chandra
PIO & Superintending Engineer
Municipal Corporation of Delhi,
O/o The Superintending Engineer,
Karol Bagh Zone, Nigam Bhawan,
DB Gupta Road, Anand Parbat,
New Delhi - 110005
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