Central Information Commission: In the second appeal filed by the appellant under Section 19 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘Act’) on the ground of unsatisfactory reply furnished by the Chief Public Information Officer (‘CPIO’), the Chief Information Officer, Amita Pandove has directed the CPIO, All India Chess Federation (‘AICF’), to provide relevant information regarding the expenses incurred by AICF, since it is a public authority and uses public money.
In the case, the appellant had sought information on these grounds—
Year-wise expenditure incurred by AICF.
Year-wise expenditure incurred on defending case before CCI in Delhi in, Hemant Sharma v. All India Chess Federation, 2018 SCC OnLine CCI 53
Total expenditure incurred by AICF till date in appeal filed before NCLAT against CCI.
Total expenditure incurred in filling case before Madras High court in case filed by AICF against Competition Commission of India in, All India Chess Federation v. Competition Commission of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 19125
The Commission noted that being dissatisfied with the unsatisfactory reply furnished by the respondent, the appellant filed a second appeal seeking information on the expenditure incurred by AICF. Further, the respondent had not evoked any exemption clause to deny the information, which is against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act.
The Commission observed that the respondent is arrayed as a necessary party before the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’), wherein it was held that conduct of All India Chess Federation is in contravention of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2022.
The Commission viewed that the CPIO changed its stance on the matter on the information not being made available to the appellant, as first it was stated that the requisite information pertained to its Chennai office, and then later it was submitted that the relevant records had been destroyed by pests. Further, at the last hearing, he completely denied the information being sought under the garb of Section 8 1 (d), (e), and (j) of the RTI Act, which is in complete contradiction of the previous reply.
Thus, the Commission admonished CPIO for providing mindless and incongruous replies, which on his part was a complete dereliction of duty. It was also observed that the CPIO tried to mislead the Commission by stating that a stay had been granted by the Madras High Court in a similar matter, where the matter being heard is completely different from the matter of information sought by the appellant.
[Gurpreet Pal Singh v. All India Chess Federation, Second Appeal No. CIC/MOYAS/A/2019/149085 decided on 19-10-2022]