Do not nominate officers as CPIOs or FAAs who are on verge of retirement: CIC advises South Eastern Railway

Central information Commission: The Commission recently issued an advisory to General Manager, South Eastern Railway Board to nominate such officers as PIOs or FAAs who are on the verge of retirement in order to ensure the implementation of RTI Act in its true spirit and letter. The Commission was addressing a show cause proceedings in which applellant’s RTI application was not properly answered and for the same, show cause notice was issued to the CPIO who had retired by now.

The Commission on going through the relevant facts and development in the case observed that the then CPIO had retired recently and the present CPIO was not at fault for not paying heed to the show cause notice or even giving a proper reply to appellant’s RTI application. To this, Commissioner- Amitava Bhattacharyya noted that even if the then CPIO had retired, the event of retirement would not be an excuse for dispensing with penal procedure in the instant case.

Further, after thorough analysis of the case, Commission observed that although the then PIO was negligent in complying with the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, it is also a fact that he had invited the appellant for inspection of documents showing no malafide intent on his part. Though it was not a proper way to handle RTI applications, but the commission decided to consider the fact that now the point wise reply had been given by the present CPIO and not take any action against the then CPIO. Accordingly, it issued the advisory after closing the show-cause proceedings. [Jharna Ghosh v. CPIO, PIO, South Eastern Railway, CIC/CC/A/2016/000491-AB, decided on 23.11.2017]

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