CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

(Room No.315,

0-Wlng, August Krantl Bhawan, Bhlkajl Cama Place,

New Delhl 110 066)

File No.CIC/SA/C/2013/000018 Appellant Respondent Date of hearing : Date of decision : Ms.Maja Daruwala and Shri Venkatesh Nayak Chief Secretary, GNCTD 27.12.2013 27.12.2013

This complaint is dated 27.12.13.

Because this complaint

concerns a question of public interest, and in the context of rising concern in civil society against the destruction of public records, it was was therefore, heard scheduled for hearing out of turn. The corr~plaint on 27th December 2013. The following are present: Complainant: Shri Venkatesh Nayak Ms.Maja Daruwala There was no time t o call the Respondents. 2. The Complaiants/Petitioners brought t o the notice of CIC about

a sting operation by a TV news channel actually showing destruction of public records which was telecast on 23.12.13, the print out of news story as published on the website of the TV channel and its translation t o explain that it was not just a rumour but a reasonable apprehension that public records are being destroyed. (Further details of sting operation are made available through Annex-I and I 1 of the petition). The petitioners sought to invoke the supervisory powers of CIC u/s 18(1) of the RTI Act, 2005. The petitioners cited the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Chief Information Commissioner and Another Vs. State of Manipur and Another(Civi1

Appeal 1\10.10787-10788 of 2011, judgement dated 12.12.11) in which the SC had taken note of the supervisory powers of Central and State Information Commissions, and also to the decision of Hon'ble SC in CBSE & Another Vs. Aditya Bandhopadhyay and Another(Civi1 Appeal No.6454 of 2011, judgement dated 9.8.11), wherein the Court explained the nature of powers of Central and State Information Commissions, under RTI Act, particularly Sec.lQ(8) which entrusted Information Commissions with the power to require any public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure the compliance with the provisions of the Act, besides Sec.19(8)(4) which empowers the Commission to require a public authority to make necessary changes to its practices relating to the maintenance, management and destruction of records. The petitioners prayed that the CIC may urgently admit the

3.

petition, hear them and issue an ad-interim-direction in view of the urgency of the matter even before issuing notice to the Respondent viz. the Chief Secretary, GNCTD. The petitioners also brought to the notice of CIC that earlier too in such emergency situations, Commission had issued ad-interim-injuction with a purpose to effectively implement the provisions of RTI Act. 4. Petitioner Shri Venkatesh Nayak arguing his case appraised that

apprehension of destruction of records, if becomes true, would cause irreparable loss because the evidence of corruption or innocence would be destroyed forever, block many future RTI responses by public authorities because of absence of record due to destruction and it might even lead to a situation where criminal justice cannot be administered by proper investigation and prosecution of the offenders under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or any other: law. The petitioners argued that they were neither relying on rumours nor raising hue and cry on suspicions but interested in securing the public

records which might become clinching evidences of offences and finally result in effective implementation of rule of law.

5.

The Commission is pleased t o issue the following 'ad-interimI n order t o perform its duties u/s 18(1) o f the RTI Act,

direction'. i)

CIC consider the complaint filed by Ms. Maja Daruwala and Shri
Venkatesh Nayak admissible as it discloses reasonable apprehension of commission of cognizable offence which if not prevented, would cause serious consequences to administration of criminal justice and affecting the rule of law. Though principles of natural justice demand hearing o f ii) other side, i.e. Respondent Chief Secretary of GNCTD, due to urgency and lack of time and in view of protecting the records as the circumstances may not wait for a few more days for CIC to issue regular notice of hearing, the Respondent having a responsibility as Head of the Govt. machinery t o protect the public records which is important state property and which could be the evidence of corruption or innocence of responsible public servants, it is considered proper and necessary t o issue 'ad-interim-direction' t o take steps to prevent destruction and secure public records, the CIC is pleased to admit this complaint and enquire into the same by holding out of turn hearing. iii) The Commission is pleased to invoke sec.l8(3)(a) o f the RTI Act and issue summons t o the Respondent public authority to give written information about the result of enquiry of alleged destruction of public records. The Commission is pleased t o invoke sec.l8(3)(c) of the iv) RTI Act which requires public authority to submit a list of public record papers and documents in custody of Govt. if destroyed either legitimately or otherwise, destruction. along with justification of legitimate

Invoking powers u/s18(3) read with section 19(8) and section 25(5) of the RTI Act, the Commission directs the Respondents t o issue necessary directions to "record officers" designated under Public Records Act, 1993 and "Public Information Officers" designated under RTI Ad, 2005 to secure, keep safe and undertake not to destroy, displace or in any other way tamper with or dislocate or dislodge or disturb any official document in the custody of various departments of GNCTD. The Commission also directs the Respondent to alert the vi) vigilance ofTicers/any other concerned officers to take all preventive steps to protect the records from destruction. vii)
I f Respondent public authority comes t o notice of any

such destruction as apprehended, he may initiate necessary criminal action against concerned person as destruction of records might amount to serious crime by itself under Indian Penal Code or any other law.

6.

The matter is posted for hearing on 15'~January 2014 at

12.00 Noon. The hearing will be held at the address given above.
The Chief Secretary, GNCTD or any other senior officer nominated by him is directed to represent the Respondent on the hearing.

(

g *

ridhar Ac a ulu)

Joint secfetat-f & ~ d d l Registrar .

Address of parties The Chief Secretary Govt. o f NCT of Delhi Delhi Secretariat Delhi

d '

Ms. Maja Daruwala & Shri Venkatesh Nayak 8-117, zndFloor Sarvodaya Enclave New Delhi 110 017

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