Central Information Commission, New Delhi File No.CIC/SM/C/2010/001083 Right to Information Act2005Under Section (19) Date of hearing : 24 February 2011 Date of decision : 24 February 2011 Name of the Complainant : Shri H Basavaraj S/o. Shri H Basappa, 2954/4, M C C B Block, 5th Cross, 5th Main, Davangere - 4. Name of the Public Authority : CPIO, Canara Bank, Strategic Planning & Development Wing, Head Office, 112, J C Road, Bangaluru. The Appellant was present in person. On behalf of the Respondent, Shri Reddy was present.
Chief Information Commissioner : Shri Satyananda Mishra
2. We heard this case through video conferencing. The Appellant was
present in the Davangere studio of the NIC. The Respondents were present in
the Bangalore studio. We heard their submissions.
3. The Appellant had sought a number of information against his queries
regarding the extension of certain allowances to the employees of the RRBs in
terms of the Finance Ministry circular of 24 July 2010. The CPIO did not provide
any information and observed that the question and answer form in which the
Appellant had sought the information did not fall under the definition of
information as in Section 2(f) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The
Appellate Authority also endorsed this decision of the CPIO.
4. During the hearing, the Respondents submitted that the desired
information was not available at the relevant time and that the entire information
was sent to the Appellant in January 2011. On our direction, the contents of the
January 2011 communication were read out. We found it to be adequately
covering the queries of the Appellant. Therefore, no more information need be
provided to him.
5. However, the fact remains that the CPIO had denied the information by
wrongly interpreting that the queries raised by the Appellant did not amount to
information at all. A citizen becomes helpless in such circumstances when the
CPIO chooses to interpret his request in this arbitrary manner and declares it as
not amounting to information. The attitude of the CPIO in this case was
completely against the letter and spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A
cursory reading of the queries of the Appellant makes it clear that he wanted to
know if the ‘other allowances’ to be paid to the RRB employees had been
determined in terms of the Finance Ministry order and about the timeframe for
acting upon these orders. To conclude that these are not information shows a
completely negative mindset. The CPIO must explain why he denied the
information on such flimsy and arbitrary grounds. If he fails to explain the
reasons for his decision denying the information, he will be liable for imposition
of penalty in terms of Section 20(1) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Before
deciding on the penalty, we direct the CPIO concerned (Sri A Raveendran) to
appear before the Commission (Room No. 306, 2nd Floor, B Wing, August
Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi – 110 066) on 1 April
2011 at 01.00 p.m. and offer his explanation. In case he fails to offer any
satisfactory explanation on that day, we will proceed to impose the maximum
penalty of Rs 25,000 on him.
6. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Chief Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against
application and payment of the charges prescribed under the Act to the CPIO of this