Mockery of RTI -Case F.No.CIC/PB/C/2006/00049 BSNL
Posted by rtiact2005 on July 8, 2006
Dear Mr. Praveen,
I have received today by courier the letter (decision) of the CIC in my case against BSNL, along with the copy of comments of the Appellate Authority, from whom the CIC had sought comments along with the instructions that he should send a copy of the same to me (appellant) and the CIC in the same letter asked me to offer my comments on the answers given by the AA.
Defying the directive of the CIC, the AA did not send me the copy of his comments, but instead I received a letter from the PIO furnishing inaccurate, incorrect and misleading information. One does not understand the motive of the AA not adhering to the directive of the CIC and this give rise to suspicion behind this act of the AA. As such, I was unable to send my comments to his answers and responded to the CIC on the PIO letter.
Further, the learned IC did not bother to check whether my comments sought were in line with the directive to the AA and as to whether the AA had sent me the copy of his reply as directed by the CIC. This exhibits the pitfalls in the working of the Commission, which did not dwell on the explanation offered by AA but instead revolved the issue around the PIO. Now what can one call this kind of scrutiny and decisions in the CIC?
The IC also did not apply the mind as to if the PIO had erred why he had also failed to respond to the First Appeal and kept silent. This explanation should have been sought from him , for he too was at fault. And why did the CIC seek comments from the AA and not the PIO in the first instance? Everything is mind-boggling. Who will take the corrective steps and admit their mistakes? I think Mr. Wajahat Habibullah should shed light on this aspect.
Now look how the IC overlooked this fact. The AA in his reply, point 4, admits of receiving the second appeal and yet does not inform the Commission as to why he sat on the complaint and did not act, nor the Commission asked him as to what he did not act on the second appeal. And also look into the time frame. The letter from the AA to the PIO was sent ten days after receiving the second appeal. All are lies., lies and lies, as the copy provided to me clearly indicates that all the correspondence was done by fax. And why should the AA ask the APIO to furnish information when his function was to hear and give a decision.
So not only the CIC but the BSNL also bungled and the worst part is that they could succeed in misleading the Commission successfully. And I do not know how my case a second appeal can be treated as a normal application and be closed without a fair decision?
I think that this is a unique case to be brought before the Supreme Court through a PIL and show as to how the bureaucracy is playing with the RTI Act and the people. I am sure only the judiciary can tame and lame the bureaucracy and save the RTI Act.
Quote the Comments sent to the CIC by the Appellate Authority, BSNL, Bombay
Shri: Munish Kumar,
Central Information Commission,
Block No. !V (5th Floor)
Old JUNU Campus,
No: MH/RTI/PN/SRB/Nil Date: 18.5.2006
Your letter dated 10.5.2006 forwarding the second appeal under RTI Act. by Shri. Shahid Raza Burney of Pune for non-supply of information on his application received on 12.1.2006 is acknowledged. The case has been examined and the following comments are offered in the case.
The application of Shri. Burney was received on 12.1.2006 by the office of GM (HR) Pune, who was the APIO for Pune. As per the directions of Corporate office, at this time, only DDG(CS) at Corporate office in New Delhi was the PIO for BSNL. There were no PIOs nominated at any other lower levels.
As per the instructions of the Corporate office at that time, the APIOs were to collect the required information, work out the charges and forward all details along with the application to the PIO. The APIO Pune had started gathering the information on receipt of the application.
In the meantime, vide letter No. 10-1/2005-PHA dated 8.2.06, Corporate office issued revised instructions nominating PIOs at all circles. GM (HQ) Maharashtra Circle at Mumbai was nominated as the PIO for Maharashtra Circle.
As the 30 days time limit under the Act had lapsed on 11.2.06, the applicant had sent an appeal dated 9.3.06 to the undersigned complaining of non supply of information. This was received in this office on 13.3.06, vide letter No. MHRTI/06/Pune/1 dated 22.3.06, the APIO was directed to send the information
to the GM(HQ) immediately. The APIO could complete collecting the information
only by 28.3.06 and sent the same to the PIO on 3.4.06.
The information was received from Pune on by the PIO on 3.4.2006. However,
due to pre-occupation with various transfer orders and other routine work, the PIO could not ensure supply of information immediately on receipt. The information to the applicant has been sent by speed post on 18.5.2006, also expressing regret over the delay. A copy of the same is enclosed with this comments.
The PIOhas been suitably advised to be more careful in future to make all efforts
To ensure that the time limits set under the Act are adhered to scrupulously.
Chief General Manager & Deptl. Appellate Authority
BSNL, Maharashtra Circle, Mumbai