Central Information Commission: Complainant-appellant in a recent case before Commission had sought clarification in respect of the difference in his last basic salary drawn from the CPIO and Sr. DPO, Office of the Division Railway Manager, Northern Railway. During the hearing the representative of the respondent PIO submitted that the requisite reply was given to the appellant after more than a month of filing of the RTI application.

On query by the Commission, the respondents could not explain the reason for delay in providing the requisite reply to the complainant and also for not complying with the First Appellate Authority (FAA)’s order had directed the CPIO and nodal authority to provide the requisite information to the applicant within a stipulated time.

On perusal of the records, Commissioner Amitava Bhattacharya observed that the replies were just and proper. However, he went on to say that the issue here remained that it was not provided on time. Hence, the Commission issued strict warning to the Sr. DPO and the DPO, O/o DRM, New Delhi to ensure that in future in every case reply to an RTI application is invariably provided within 30 days of receipt of the said RTI application.

The Commission further issued advisory under Section 25(5) of the RTI Act to the General Manager, Northern Railway to sensitize its officers to the need for replying to an RTI application within the stipulated time period as per the provision of the Act. It has instructed it further to evolve a procedure by which the CPIOs shall submit compliance report to the First Appellate Authorities regarding implementation of the FAA’s order in a time bound manner to realize the objective of the Act in its letter and spirit. [Ved Prakash v. CPIO and Sr. DPO, Northern Railway, CIC/NRAIL/C/2017/116075, decided on 20.10.2017]

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