The Central Information Commission (CIC) has taken a serious note of an application filed under the RTI Act 2005 and directed Deputy Commissioner RK Rao to ask the CPIO to dispose of the application as per the provisions of the RTI Act within the next three weeks.
A copy of it has to be sent to the commission.
It said if the decision of the commission was not implemented, it would be compelled to issue summons to the Deputy Commissioner to show-cause in the matter.
The complainant, Chander Bhushan Anand, through his RTI application dated February 19, 2008, had requested for information about the inquiry held on his complaint dated September 26, 2002, addressed to the Finance Secretary.
He had sought a copy of the order initiating an inquiry regarding registration of sale deed dated October 30, 2001, in the absence of NOC on the basis of false affidavits and without a conveyance deed by the estate officer, conferring upon allottee the ownership and title. He had also sought a copy of the reply by the sub-registrar or any other official of the office of the sub-registrar in regard to the registration of the sale deed in violation of the guidelines issued by the UT Administration and without NOC. Other documents sought by him included a copy of the noting of the file of inquiry held in respect of above illegality and grave irregularity committed by the sub-registrar, a copy of the order for initiating disciplinary action against the then sub-registrar.
The applicant had also sought the status of the said sale deed i.e. whether action has been initiated by the competent authority to cancel the sale deed, if so, then a copy of such order. When the complainant did not receive any information from the CPIO, he filed the present complaint before the Commission.
The matter was heard on January 20 this year. Perusal of the Commission's records indicated that the Finance Department had referred the RTI application to the estate officer (Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh) vide letter dated March 10, 2008.
The Deputy Commissioner had referred the matter to the CPIO-cum-sub-registrar, UT Chandigarh, vide letter dated March 14, 2008. The sub-registrar had sent back the original RTI application to the CPIO of the Finance Department vide letter dated March 18, 2008, requesting him to supply the requisite information.
The Finance Department had again sent the RTI application back to the sub-registrar vide letter dated March 20, 2008. Thereafter, the sub-registrar had sent the original RTI application to the CPIO of the estate office in the Deputy Commissioner's office vide letter dated June 23, 2008. Interestingly, thereafter, the CPIO of the Estate Office had sent back the RTI application to the sub-registrar.
The CIC observed, "From the above, it would appear that the RTI application became a football first between the Finance Department and the office of Deputy Commissioner and then within the Deputy Commissioner's office itself. The result is that no information whatsoever has been furnished to the appellant, which is a violation of the provisions of Section 7 (1) of the RTI Act."
Bhagwan Das, Superintendent, has stated that the matter falls in the domain of Deputy Commissioner/ Estate Officer of UT Chandigarh and that Finance Department has no role herein. CIC further observed that it appears that nobody in the Deputy Commissioner's office attended to the RTI application, thereby denying the information to the complainant, which cannot be countenanced.