Giving a dressing-down to the UT electricity department's superintending engineer, MP Singh, for not giving proper responses to pleas filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed him to undergo training for his duties as the first appellate authority under the law.
The matter pertained to a plea filed on July 27 last year by Rakesh Sood, a resident of Panchkula, who had asked the central public information officer (CPIO) of the UT electricity department for copies of correspondence between the sub-divisional officer of division 5 (operations), Industrial Area, and the executive engineer of division 2 (operations) over power lines emanating from a 11KV fire brigade feeder.
The CPIO, on August 24, 2012, told Sood that due to non-availability of his specific address, the information could not be provided. Sood then submitted the address and appealed before the first appellate authority (FAA), that is MP Singh. But Singh denied the disclosure of information in his order of September 26, 2012, saying that it was voluminous and also pertained to a 'third party'. Sood then appealed before the CIC.
In its order on Tuesday, the central commission stated that the denial of information was "reflective of complete lack of application of mind or sense of responsibility by FAA (Singh), who is warned to discharge the responsibilities ascribed to him under the RTI Act henceforth".
The commission also directed him to provide the information to Sood free of cost for the period 2008-12 within three weeks.
As per the section 19(8)(a)(v) of the RTI Act, the CIC has the power of enhancing the provision of training for its officials.
Further, the commission took cognisance of Singh's move to dispose of four similar RTI applications through a common order on September 26, 2012, which was not the correct method of disposal. So the FAA has been directed to issue separate orders for each plea.
Unhappy with the attitude of the department, Sood had also lodged a complaint with UT adviser KK Sharma in October last year.