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Behaviour of the PIO
During the hearing by video conference, the manner in which the PIO was making her presentations was not at all acceptable and it appeared that she was running the hearing. Despite repeated requests she failed to maintain the decorum of the CIC and continued to speak without listening to the questions raised by the CIC. The Commission was, therefore, constrained to disconnect the audio-conferencing and she was asked to file her written submissions to decide the case. The Commission noted that complete information was provided to the appellant and the appellant is also satisfied with the same. However, the appellant requested the Commission to instruct the concerned PIO to supply the information within the time limit prescribed under the RTI Act. The CIC cautioned the PIO to remain careful while handling the RTI applications in future and to ensure that timely replies are provided to every RTI application handled by her. The CIC also observed that it is necessary to maintain decorum at all times during the hearing and even when the contention is justified, it must be in a language of utmost restraint, always keeping in view that the person making the comment is also fallible.
It is the duty of the PIO to behave cordially with the applicant and maintain good behaviour. The PIO should be humble and polite when addressing a Judicial or Quasi-Judicial body.

Citation: Dr S Garg v. University Grants Commission in File No.: CIC/UGCOM/A/2019/639673, Date of Decision: 09/09/2020

Dr. Anuradha Verma (dranuradhaverma@yahoo.co.in) is an expert on RTI matters and has co-authored the books RIGHT TO INFORMATION - LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Apart from her weekly article here, her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at the link: www.rtifoundationofindia.com

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