Tuesday, February 23, 2010

[rti_india] CIC should be empowered to punish the defaulting CPIOs


CPIO (General), New Custom House, Mumbai rejected an application dated 28.01.2010 filed by me outright informing vide his reply dated 16.02.2010 shat Since the information sought is in regards to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest and therefore the same is being exempted under Section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The queries were regarding processing of application of my voluntary retirement and are reprodced below:

1.    Dates of processing of F.No.S/5- Misc- 397/2009 P&E (Spl. Cell) from 14.12.2009 to 14.01.2010 by the staff / officers;

2.    Details of notings in the above said file from 14.12.2009 to 14.01.2010 by the Staff / officers.

I have submitted a complaint against the said CPIO to CIC on various grounds one of them being:

If this narrow interpretation is allowed to remain on records, then at least in 90% of the work of the government, no citizen can ever ask for any information from the government where his/her matters are being dealt with.  Obviously, much of the work in the government involves interaction of the citizens with the government.  Thus if anyone asks information in his own matter, it can be branded as involving no public activity or interest and all the inactions, perversions, misdeeds, etc. of the bureaucrats can be kept under the iron curtain beyond the scrutiny of anyone.

On receiving the copy of complaint served on him he contacted me through a collegue of mine to withdraw the complaint and he is ready to furnish the information. It is has also been indicated by him that the information under RTI are not allowed to be given by the senior officers of customs and CPIOs have to face the complaint.

The issue here is that no CPIO in any department is willing to give information until it is directed by CIC. By the time decision of CIC is announed, te very purpose of seeking that information is defeated. CIC should be empowered to punish the defaulting CPIOs in case of any violation of RTI act.


VB Singh  



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