PANJIM: The State information Commissioner has sent a RTI appeal back to the First Appellate Authority (FAA), Director-cum-Dean of Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour (IPHB), directing him to decide the same on merit, as provided by the law.
State Information Commission (SEC) Sanjay N Dhavalikar held that the FAA was required to hear the complainant before deciding the first appeal. Referring to the proviso of section 19 (1) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Commission found that the complainant was not given any opportunity to explain the delay in filing the appeal.
Considering the aim and sprit of the RTI Act, the Commission was of the view that the FAA was required to give an opportunity to the complainant to explain the reason for delay in filing the first appeal and take the appropriate decision on the appeal.
Complainant C Radhakrishnan of Bambolim said, “I had sought information in public interest pertaining to the activity of a public servant Uday Chari Priolkar, an employee of the Public Authority, who was attending various Courts, Commission and government authorities during office hours. Such information should be readily available with the PIO since the salary of the said public servant is being paid from the public exchequer, the complainant.”
However, the PIO denied the information without giving any reason. Aggrieved by an incorrect and vague reply from the PIO, the complainant filed the appeal before the FAA.
But the Appellate Authority never give hearing nor sought any clarification for the delay if any in filing the first appeal if given an opportunity, the complainant would have stated the reason for delay, which would have satisfied the authority. similarly, the FAA did not pass any order on the appeal, sent a reply/communication dated June 1, 2022 after keeping the appeal unheard for 35 days, informing the complainant that his appeal cannot be considered it was filed beyond the 30 days of period.
The complainant vide letter dated June 16, 2022 requested to review the rejection to which FAA by a letter dated July 6, 2022 informed him that the request cannot be considered. Being aggrieved by non-furnishing of the information by the PIO and non hearing of the appeal by the FAA, Radhakrishnan appeared before the Commission by filing a complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act 2005.