Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Whether litigant can seek information under RTI without attending court?

 In an earlier order in a different second appeal the Commission admonished the appellant
for running parallel inquiry and rejected his appeal. In case of Vijay Kumar Gupta V.
Dwarka   Court   (CIC/SA/C/2015/000021   &   CIC/SA/C/2015/000033)   this   Commission
orderd:
“….the complainant was warned by the Commission not to misuse the
RTI Act by running a parallel inquiry against the Courts where his cases are
pending for trial.   Once the appellant is subjected to the jurisdiction of the Court
of law, either as a petitioner or respondent, he will have to follow and complete
that process in a Court of law.  The common sense and the common law explains
that a citizen cannot run the processes for two remedies at a time, on the same
subject matter, each of which will obstruct the other.  The action of the appellant
in seeking information through the RTI Act about a case pending for trial in a
court of law, without attending the court, reflects malicious intention and it would
amount to obstruction in the legal proceedings and also disrespect to the process
of adjudication. 
With the above observations, the Commission rejects both the above complaints.”
Similarly in another case of Vijay Kumar Gupta (CIC/SA/A/2014/000965)
5…The appellant is trying to run a simultaneous/parallel trial through RTI Act.  It is
misuse of RTI. This RTI application of the appellant itself is an obstruction or
impediment to the proceedings before the court of law. Once he is subjected to the
jurisdiction of the Court of law, either as a petitioner or respondent, he will have to
follow and complete that process in a Court of law.  He has to explore the possibility
of getting information through that process only because he is already in the Court
of law.  The common sense and the common law explains that a citizen cannot run
processes for two remedies at a time on the same subject matter each of which will
obstruct the other. 
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu (Madabhushi Sridhar)
Information Commissioner
CIC/SA/A/2015/000208
Ram Kishan v. State Council of Educational Research & Training 
 Decision: 19.08.2015




Facts:
2. Appellant Dr. Ram Kishan filed RTI application seeking information on 72 points in respect
of charge­sheet memo dated 28.5.2014. The CPIO in his reply enclosed the information for
point no 69 & 71. Being unsatisfied, appellant filed first appeal. First appellate authority
passed the following direction :“I hold that the information asked for is voluminous in nature & require diversion of
resources  and  manpower.  The appellant  is directed to  restrict  the  information
asked for within a week time. PIO, SCERT & Demand PIO of DIET, K P & DIET PP
are   directed   to   provide   the   specific   information   after   being   restricted   by   the
appellant within 15 days.” Being aggrieved with FAA order, appellant approached
the Commission.
Decision:
3. Appellant   submitted   before   the   Commission   that   he   is   a   TGT   teacher,   physically
handicaped   and   has   been   charge­sheeted   for   financial   irregularities   in   organizing   a
workshop and defaulting in arranging resource person and making payment to them.
Inquiry  on the matter is under progress and he is still continuing as a TGT Teacher. He
says that he was required to conduct seminar as a part of his duty which was denied by Dr
Alka Kalra, Principal DIET, Keshavpuri. Later on, he got permission and organised a
seminar from 7­11 May, 2011. He stated that the seating capacity was for 266 participants,
but they took 393 participants, due to which there was shortage of 3 resource persons.
Out of those participants, 3 persons were choosen as resource persons. He claimed that
he did not commit any irregularity by making 3 participants as a resource person because
their names were listed among eligible resourse persons of SERT. On 3rd day of seminar
Dr Alka Kalra visited the centre and questioned the inclusion of three resourse persons
and ordered that payment of remuneration cannot be made to them.The departement
issued a statement of imputation of misconduct & misbehaviour on 28.5.2014 with regard
to inservice training program to the appellant.
4. Appellant by his submission dated 10.6.2015 stated as follows:a. A seminar was held by SCERT from 7­11 May, 2012 and I was the coordinator. The seminar had
arranged Resource Persons for 266 participants, however, 393 participants turned out for the
seminar for which there was a shortage of 3 Resource Persons. To overcome this shortage, 3
participants i.e., Mr.Alok Tiwari, Mr. Balwan Singh and Mr.Naveen Chandra Joshi were made
Resource Persons as per Established Practise of SCERT/ DiET.   No Specific order for the
purpose   is   required   for   such   appointment   of   resource   persons.   No   participant   has   ever
complained about the excellent work of these resource persons. They have not been paid yet.
b. On 13 January, 2012, Mr.Anil Jain told me that in a similar previous case of a seminar held from 2
January – 1 January, 2012, in Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya, Adarsh Nagar, he was both a participant
as well as a resource person and the payment for both of these positions was made to him as per
Established Practise of SCERT/ DIET, but in this case a charge sheet has been made against
me. This is because of Dr.Alka Kalra who is the principal of DIET K.P. She has been harassing
me unrationally for a very long time and has on purpose made a false case against me because
I’m physically disabled. In a previously decided case, the Chief Commissioner for Persons with
Disabilities passed an order directing her to not insult me any further and to not deprive me of my
rights. Infuriated with the order, she impaired my A.C.R, effected my transfer, disrupted my
service, made a Red Entry in my service book and also instigated SCERT to file a false charge
sheet against me.
c. In relation to the charge sheet, I have submitted all the above mentioned points to the officials of
SCERT but they have blatantly ignored all my submissions along with my request of obtaining
defence documents on 72 points. I filed this RTI seeking information on 72 questions after being
aggrieved by the SCERT for the past 3 years. Inspite of the RTI application, the SCERT has not
furnished me with any information. After this, I went for first appeal, following whose orders, the
SCERT furnished information on 62 questions. These answers are important for me to prove my
innocence. A copy of my answers to the SCERT is attached. 
d. The SCERT has furnished a false testimony in your presence against me on 9 June 2015,day of
hearing, that I have been non­cooperative during the investigation. If I had not been cooperative
then how has the investigation been going on for the last three years? The truth is that the
investigating officers had directed the SCERT to furnish me with the defense documents on 72points but they had failed to do so, hence investigation could not be conducted for the last 5
years.
e. I am not aware of the rule that under RTI, the information seeker is to limit the number of
questions to be put before any CPIO. Thus, I had asked the SCERT answers on 72 questions but
I plead before you to get me answers on 62 points only.
f. For the past 3 years the SCERT under the garb of investigation has mentally, emotionally and
physically harassed me. I am being tortured in different ways, in spite of being a selected senior
spokesman of the physically disabled class. A copy of evidence is attached herewith.
g. The SCERT is not transferring my application to higher officials. In the name of vigilance inquiry,
the application is not being forwarded through a proper channel. Copy of the evidence is attached
herewith.
h. It will be in the best interest of my family and me, including my aged parents, that through your
impartial medium and on the basis of truth, the inquiry on the charge sheet can be brought to an
end as soon as possible. 
i. Hoping that after taking into account the abovementioned points, an appropriate order will be
passed. You are my only hope.
5. Respondent Officer stated that they are conducting inquiry, but inquiry officer expressed
his inability to continue in that position because of non cooperation of Dr Ram Kishan. The
new inquiry officer is yet to be appointed.
6. The officer told the Commission that payment of remuneration to resource persons, other
than the disputed persons, was cleared. Approval has been obtained and after sanction for
release of money, they will be paid. Respondent officer further submitted that 37 pages ofinformation has been provided to appellant in response to 72 points of RTI application. In
first appeal, he has been asked to restrict the questions, but he did not. Appellant stated
that he is not in position to restrict his 72 questions.
Observation :
7. In an earlier order in a different second appeal the Commission admonished the appellant
for running parallel inquiry and rejected his appeal. In case of Vijay Kumar Gupta V.
Dwarka   Court   (CIC/SA/C/2015/000021   &   CIC/SA/C/2015/000033)   this   Commission
orderd:
“….the complainant was warned by the Commission not to misuse the
RTI Act by running a parallel inquiry against the Courts where his cases are
pending for trial.   Once the appellant is subjected to the jurisdiction of the Court
of law, either as a petitioner or respondent, he will have to follow and complete
that process in a Court of law.  The common sense and the common law explains
that a citizen cannot run the processes for two remedies at a time, on the same
subject matter, each of which will obstruct the other.  The action of the appellant
in seeking information through the RTI Act about a case pending for trial in a
court of law, without attending the court, reflects malicious intention and it would
amount to obstruction in the legal proceedings and also disrespect to the process
of adjudication. 
With the above observations, the Commission rejects both the above complaints.”
Similarly in another case of Vijay Kumar Gupta (CIC/SA/A/2014/000965)
5…The appellant is trying to run a simultaneous/parallel trial through RTI Act.  It is
misuse of RTI. This RTI application of the appellant itself is an obstruction or
impediment to the proceedings before the court of law. Once he is subjected to the
jurisdiction of the Court of law, either as a petitioner or respondent, he will have to
follow and complete that process in a Court of law.  He has to explore the possibility
of getting information through that process only because he is already in the Court
of law.  The common sense and the common law explains that a citizen cannot run
processes for two remedies at a time on the same subject matter each of which will
obstruct the other.  8. Having heard the submission and perused the record, the Commission is of view that
appellant is charge­sheeted for financial irregularites, but he is claiming innocence. His
RTI   request   also  does  not   reflect   any  public  interest.   Without   facing  the  disciplinary
proceeding against him before the inquiry officer, he is trying to run a parallel inquiry
through stream of RTI questions.  Every employee has right to secure his employment. But
he  also  has  duties  to  perform  the  job  without   resorting  to  misconduct   or   any  other
irregularity. If such charges are made out against him, it is his duty to face the inquiry,
where the employee has right to get the copy of complaint, notice, charge sheet and every
piece of paper which is relied on against him. As a matter of right he should get the
opportunity also to defend himself. At the end he should also get the copy of inquiry
report/order/judgment or sentence pronounced along with right of appeal. He has all rights
available under principles of natural justice and if there is any lapse, or suppression of
information or document or non­supply of papers relied on by the disciplinary authority, he
can seek them from the inquiry officer or authority, if not, he can also get them under RTI
Act. Though an employee facing disciplinary charges does not have any moral or legal
right to skip the inquiry or defy the process of inquiry and go on filing plethora of RTI
applications seeking information not related to allegation against him, but to harass the
officers who he suspect to have complained or gave evidence or provided information or
took action against him. Such activity is surely a misuse and that cannot be encouraged.
The public interest is an important factor in these cases also as provided in Right to
Information Act, 2005. If such multiple RTI actions are allowed the officers at higher level
will lose moral authority to initiate action against erring employees and whole system of
disciplined administration would crumble. In contra, there is a huge public interest in taking
action against the wrong­doing employees. 9. Here in this case, the appellant is unleashing his private vengeance against colleagues or
seniors who are either inquiring or informing or complaining or giving evidence against
him.     Thus   such   information   sought   under   RTI   would   squarely   fall   under   exempted
category under Section 8(1)(h) (‘information which would impede process of investigation
or   prosecution   of   offenders’)   of   RTI   Act,   2005   as   this   would   not   only   impede   the
investigation or inquiry against him, but also impede the inquiries against all such erring
employees who will be encouraged or tempted to use RTI for such private, illegal and
vengeful purpose. The RTI is not a rendezvous for suspended employees or those
erring personnel facing inquiries to serve their personal interests in protecting
their   misconduct   or   preventing   the   authorities   from   proceeding   with   penal
proceedings   enquiring   into   misconduct.   The   RTI   is   not   for   these   disgruntled
employees facing disciplinary proceedings or selfish persons but for the people in general,
only in public interest, and never for the private vengeance at all. 
10. If   this   kind   of   misuse   is   not
checked,   then   the   officers   will   feel   threatened,   demoralized   and   prevented   from
proceeding   against   employees   facing   charges   of   misconduct.   None   would
complain/inform/give evidence or no authority would gather courage to initiate inquiry
against erring employees even if law authorizes them, prescribes it as a duty and situation
demands. Such a situation will lead to chaos in administration. In order to check the
misuse of RTI for running a parallel or counter inquiry against inquiring officers, this
application deserves to be rejected and the appellant, admonished. 
11. Considering this as another case of misuse of RTI Act by the chargesheeted
employee, by instituting a parallel or counter interrogatory questionnaire through multiplequestions under RTI Act, the Commission directs the appellant to face the inquiry with all
material   he   has   and   cooperate   with   the   inquiry   officer   to   complete   the   process   in
reasonable time. The Commission also direct the respondent authority to provide sufficient
notice and time to appellant to defend his case and provide a copy of inquiry report
whenever it is done. All his RTI applications for information regarding subject matter of
inquiry,   cannot   be   entertained   during   the   pendency   of   inquiry.     With   the   above
observations, the present appeal is rejected. 
Sd/­
(M.Sridhar Acharyulu)
Information Commissioner 
Authenticated true copy
(Babu Lal)
Deputy Registrar
Addresses of the parties:
1. CPIO,
State Council of Educational Research & Training,
GNCTD, Varun Marg, Defence Colony, New Delhi
2. Dr Ram Kishan
H. no. 224, Sarai papal Thala, Near Adarsh Nagar,
Delhi-110033
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