RTI officers now cannot deny information to an applicant on the pretext of unavailable or missing files. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the Inland Waterways Authority of India, Noida to reconstruct missing files and provide information to an RTI applicant within four weeks.
In an order issued last week, information commissioner Sushma Singh observed that it was unfortunate that the relevant file is not traceable and ordered the First Appellate Authority (FAA) to constitute an inquiry committee to fix responsibility on the defaulting officer. The FAA was directed to provide requisite documents to the appellant, B Meghani, within four weeks of receipt of this order.
Meghani had filed the appeal before the CIC against the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) on July 11 last year for not providing information to his RTI application dated January 22, 2011.
He had sought information pertaining to the written test conducted for recruitment of LDC at IWAI including copy of complaint lodged with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the paper leakage and other relevant papers related to internal investigation reports. CBI had closed the case after the inquiry.
The central public information officer (CPIO) and later FAA informed Meghani that no such record/complaint is available.
During the hearing on June 7 this year, Deepak Das, FAA submitted that since the relevant file was not traceable in the office, he was unable to provide requisite information to the appellant and opined that the information, which is not available, cannot be created and hence cannot be provided to applicant.
The appellant, on the other hand, produced a photocopy of the affidavit of assistant secretary, ICWAI, filed at the Allahabad high court mentioning the copies of documents submitted before the court. The RTI applicant had asked for these documents only.