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Opinion is Disclosable-CIC

Opinion is Disclosable-CIC

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Published by: navdeepsingh.india8849 on Sep 07, 2009
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05/11/2014

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CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2007/00329 dated 27.2.2007
Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19
Appellant
- Shri Banshi Dhar
Respondent
- Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Facts:
Shri Banshi Dhar of the Ordnance Factory Cell, Ministry of Defence made arequest to Shri Alok Perti, JS & CPIO, Ministry of Defence on 1.12.06 seeking thefollowing information:1. “The reasons for not taking the SRO 133/79 in to account whileaccepting/ processing the DPC proposals for effecting thepromotions to the post of Dy. Manager/ DADG in the years1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and onwards.2. The level at which the decision was taken to delete the StaffOfficer as feeder grade in the DPC proposals.3. Is so, a copy of such decision or amendment SRO may bemade available to me.4. If not, it is a case of misleading the DPC by suppression offacts. In such a situation, what corrective measures the M of Dproposes to implement the SRO or safeguard the careerprospects of Staff Officer lost for 18 years by not adhering to theservice rules by omissions or intentionally.5. In a recent communication by M of D vide ID No. 15(8)/97-D(Fy-1) dated 23.02.2006 to OFB, the posts of Staff Officer havebeen termed as isolated posts and if so, what action the M of Dhas taken in last 14 years to encadre the 14 posts of StaffOfficers with organized cadre of IOFS in accordance withDOP&T OM No. AB 14017/82-Estt. RR dated 16.10.1992referred by M of D vide ID No. 1512/ D (Fy-1) dated 4.11.92.6. What action the M of D has taken to implement the decisiontaken in the office of Additional Secretary/ DP on 30.5.91 tomerge the post of Staff Officer with IOFS.”
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To this he received a response dated3.1.07 from Mr. V. Saraswathy Dy.Secy. (P) answering the questions Para wise as below:“(1) (2) & (3) Records are not available(4) & (5) The question of the appellant is intended to elicitanswers on the proposed action by the Government. Suchqueries on proposed action, nature of action etc. raised bythe applicant does not fall under the category of informationas defined in Sec. 2(f) of the Act.(6) Yes, a meeting was held in the office ofAdditional Secretary / DP on 30.5.1991 to merge the post ofStaff Officer with IOFS.The query raised by the appellant is not covered by the sec.2(f) of the RTI Act.”Aggrieved by this response Shri Banshi Dhar then moved his first appealbefore Shri P.K. Rastogi, Addl. Secretary DP & First Appellate Authority pleadingthat “
the information sought for is very much specific as may be seen from my application but the CPIO has failed to provide any of the information 
”. He alsomade some observations on the manner in which the response of CPIO Mr.Saraswathy had been provided. Upon this First Appellate Authority Shri P.K.Rastogi found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed the same on31.1.07. Shri Dhar has, therefore, moved his second appeal before us with thefollowing prayer:
“The Honour is very humbly requested to intervene in the matter and issue directives to the Ministry of Defence / Ordnance Factory Board to provide me the information as asked in my application dt. 1.12.2007.” 
The appeal was heard on 24.1.08. The following are present:
Appellant
Shri Banshi DharShri T. P. Narainmurthy
Respondents
Shri Hazari Lal DirectorShri V. Saraswathy DS (P)Shri D. Majumdar, Director
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Shri B. Pattanaik, DirectorRespondents submitted that whatever documents are held by them has infact been provided but that the DPC records for the years 1979 to 1983 are notheld by them having been destroyed under the regular rules of the Ministry. Thiswas contested by Appellant Shri Banshi Dhar who argued that SROs and theiramendments cannot be destroyed. Similarly, respondents admitted that while adecision was indeed made in the meeting of 30.5.1991 to merge the post of StaffOfficer with IOFS, it was subsequently decided not to proceed with thisrecommendation.
DECISION NOTICE
It is correct that, as argued by appellant Shri Banshi Dhar, u/s 2 (f) of theRTI Act ‘opinion’ is disclosable, but the definition of information under this subsection of section 2 clearly lays down that information means that the informationmust be in the form of “any material”. Therefore, any ‘opinion’ to be providedmust be recorded opinion. By the same argument, if there is no recorded opinionon a particular subject on which information has been sought, the CPIO isrequired to inform the applicant that there is no such record. Similarly, if noaction has been taken on a decision in a meeting held in the office of Addl.Secretary on 30.5.91 on which it has been subsequently decided not toimplement the decision, this is required to be conveyed in response to thequestion (6) of appellant Shri Banshi Dhar. It is entirely incorrect to state thatsuch information is not covered by section 2(f) since this will clearly constitute the‘right to information’ as defined u/s 2(j), which allows for accessibility to anyinformation “which is held by or under the control of any public authority”.We also find that 1
st
Appellate Authority Shri P.K. Rastogi in dismissing theappeal of Shri Banshi Dhar has failed to apply his mind. Instead of addressingthe information sought by appellant Shri Banshi Dhar in his original application,
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