Separate reply for separate RTI applications
Appellant submitted before the CIC that he has not received any reply from the CPIO or the FAA till date regarding his query about the ownership of a particular land. In response to a show cause notice for imposition of penalty, the PIO regretted that the RTI Application dated 31.03.2017 was not replied to. He further submitted that later, Appellant filed a RTI another RTI Application dated 02.02.2018 wherein he sought information which is covered in the information sought in RTI Application dated 31.03.2017 also. A reply dated 28.02.2018 was sent to the Appellant asking him to inspect documents and take copies as required. The PIO prayed that the show-cause proceedings may be dropped as there was no malafide intention in the failure to provide a reply on the RTI Application dated 31.03.2017 within the stipulated time frame. The CIC observed that the facts of the case reflect very poorly on the lack of rationality of the PIO even as malafide intention is not evinced. The CIC dropped the show-cause proceedings with a severe warning to the PIO to remain careful in future.
All the PIO’s should remember that each RTI Application has to be dealt as per the provisions of RTI Act. Merely on a belief that two very distinct RTI Applications seek similar information,a PIO cannot absolve himself from the statutory duty of replying to one of the RTI Applications within the stipulated time frame of RTI Act. Reply to one RTI Application cannot take care of the other even if the information is similar.
Citation: Kartik B Joshi v. CPIO O/o Cantonment Board, Devlali Cantt in Adjunct Decision File No. : CIC/IARMY/A/2017/155555/SD/Adjunct, Date : 26/12/2018