Central Information Commission
Deepa vs University Of Delhi on 30 August, 2019Author: Vanaja N Sarna क य सच ु ना आयोग CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION बाबा गंगनाथ माग Baba Gangnath Marg मु नरका, नई द ल – 110067 Munirka, New Delhi-110067 Decision no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955/01519 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955
In the matter of:
Deepa … Appellant VS CPIO/RTI Cell,
University of Delhi,
Administrative Building, Delhi-110 007 … Respondent RTI application filed on : 19/01/2018
CPIO replied on : 06/02/2018
First appeal filed on : 28/02/2018
First Appellate Authority order : Not on Record
Second Appeal dated : 15/05/2018
Date of Hearing : 15/07/2019, 25/07/2019
Date of Decision : 15/07/2019, 30/08/2019 The following were present:
Appellant: Present in person alongwith her husband
Respondent: Smt. Meenakshi Sahay, Deputy Registrar and CPIO, present in
person
Information Sought:
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Certified copies of attendance sheet of the students appeared in
examination for the subject 8139 (History of India 8th Century to 18th century)
conducted on 14.06.2017 at Exam centre, Law Centre-1, University of Delhi,
Delhi-110007.

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2. Day to day action taken report on appellant’s representation dated
13.12.2017.
3. Certified copies of the Answer sheet submitted by appellant with Roll
Number 9789767, SOL Roll Number 13-1-16-022636 for the subject B139
(History of India 8th Century to 18th century) conducted on 14.06.2017 at Exam
centre, Law Centre-1, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.
4. And other related Information.

Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.

Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that she was unduly harassed by the CPIO by not
providing a proper reply on time. She further submitted that she was a student
for BA. Programme and appeared for examination held on 14.06.2017. In the
result sheet she was shown as ABSENT instead of showing the marks obtained.
She further submitted that she received the reply dated 10.08.2018, but it was
delayed and incomplete. She submitted that she was provided the revised
result but there was no specific reply to her RTI application on points no. 1,2
and 3.
The CPIO submitted that when the results are declared, sometimes
discrepancies do occur and, in such cases the candidates come with their
representation and after proper scrutiny a revised reply is given. On a specific
query by the Commission, she could not explain why the copy of the
attendance sheet was not given, or transferred to the holder of information
u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act for providing the same. She also could not explain why
the answer script was not given. She submitted that the replies were given as
per the inputs of the deemed PIOs.

Observations:
Based on a perusal of the records, it was noted that the copy of attendance
sheet and the copy of the answer script was still not given. The CPIO took no
responsibility and shifted the onus on the deemed PIOs. This is not
maintainable as per the Act. She could have provided the information at this
juncture, but she chose to reiterate the earlier replies. Further, if the deemed
PIOs were the right authorities to provide the information they should have
accompanied her for the hearing and explained the matter.

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File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 Decision:
In view of the above, the CPIO is directed to provide a revised pointwise reply
as discussed above to the Appellant within 10 days from the date of receipt of
this order. A compliance report to this effect shall be sent to the Commission
by the CPIO.
The CPIO’s conduct in having provided an incomplete reply to the RTI
Application, that too not pointwise amounts to gross violation of the provisions
of RTI Act. Moreover, the deemed PIO’s explanation was not received as it is
he who had prepared the replies dated 30.01.2018 and 08.08.2018. In view of
this, the Commission directs the CPIO to appear before the bench on
25.07.2019 at 01.35 pm to show cause as to why action should not be initiated
against her under Section 20(1) and (2) of the RTI Act. The CPIO is also directed
to send a copy of all supporting documents which she chooses to rely upon
during the hearing. The said documents be sent to the Commission at least two
days prior to the hearing via link paper. The CPIO shall serve a copy of this
order on the deemed PIOs and to direct their presence before the bench as
well. The case is accordingly adjourned Final Hearing : 25/07/2019 The following were present: Respondent: Smt Meenakshi Sahay, Deputy Registrar and CPIO; Shri
Hemchand Pandey, Assistant Registrar and Deemed PIO, Shri Rajeev Saini,
Assistant Registrar and Deemed PIO.

Submissions made by the Respondent during Hearing:
She submitted that the original application no. 134/2018 dated 13.11.2017
was received on transfer from the School of Open Learning in the Information
Section of the University on 24.01.2018 and was decided by the CPIO on
06.02.2018 u/s 6(3) of the Act based on the inputs of the deemed PIOs. The
queries of the appellant inter-alia pertained to (1) certified copy of her
attendance sheet, (2) day to day action on representation dated 13.12.2017,
(3) certified copies of her evaluated answer scripts and (4) certified copies of 3 amended result. A point-wise response was provided to the appellant based on
the inputs of the deemed PIOs, which indicated as follows:
1. For attendance sheet-input of the deemed PIO, Assistant Registrar (Exam) SOL, was enclosed, which indicated that the attendance sheet would be available with the concerned Examination Centre and she may approach the same in this regard.
2. & 4. For day to day action and revised result- Input of the deemed PIO, Assistant Registrar (Exam) SOL, was enclosed, which indicated that her case has been sent to the strong room on 27.01.2018 for supply of the answer script and the result of the candidate will be revised on receipt of awards/ answer scripts.
3. For obtaining evaluated answer scripts- Input of the deemed PIO, Assistant Controller of Examinations (Revaluation), was enclosed, the relevant information in the form of the details of the policy of suo-moto declaration of evaluated answer scripts by the University and the process for obtaining the same by the appellant was provided. She was also provided the opportunity to obtain her evaluated answer script by contacting the Assistant Registrar (Revaluation) of the University, the concerned deemed PIO in this matter. Accordingly, the CPIO or the deemed PIO provided the relevant information and did not deny, the appellant, access to her evaluated answer script. This response was in compliance to the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of CBSE Vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors, Civil Appeal No. 6454/2011.
4. The appellant then preferred first appeal before the First Appellate Authority on 01.03.2018, which was decided and communicated to the appellant on 04.05.2018, wherein she was again informed about the availability of the information and about the process of obtaining evaluated answer script on the website of the University. Further, the deemed PIO was directed to re-look at the original application vis-a-vis the first appeal and provide the relevant updated information directly to the appellant under intimation to the Information Section on or before 28.05.2018.
5. In compliance with the decision of the FAA dated 26.04.2018, the relevant input as provided by the DEAN (Examinations) through Joint Registrar (Examinations) was provided to the appellant vide communication dated 10.08.2018. In the said input, the Examination Branch informed the appellant that her result had been revised vide
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6. File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 7. notification dated 03.05.2018. She was also informed that she can download her statement of marks from the SOL website, www.sol.du.ac.in.
8. Therefore, it is submitted that the appellant was provided the necessary information and her result was also revised in May, 2018 itself and the statement of marks available on the SOL website reflected the revised result, which could have been downloaded by the appellant.
Since the case was resolved, the requirement of providing the attendance sheet was not felt required and accordingly the deemed PIO while complying with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, did not provide the same but clearly provided the links where her revised result would be available and a copy of the same was also provided to the appellant.
9. She submitted that the appellant had been provided the necessary information required by her for rectification of her case. Further, with respect to obtaining her evaluated answer script, she was already informed about the only procedure of the University for obtaining the Evaluated Answer Script. She was required to approach the Assistant registrar (Revaluation), the deemed PIO in the instant matter, to obtain the same.
10.A perusal of the file indicates that the appellant did not approach the Assistant Registrar (Revaluation), the deemed PIO in the instant matter, for obtaining a copy of her evaluated answer script as per suo-moto disclosure policy of the University for the same.
11.By the time the second appeal was heard, the decision in Institute of Companies Secretaries of India versus Paras Jain (Civil Appeal No. 5665/2014) dated 11.04.2019 was pronounced by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, was considering the matter as to whether the public authorities could prescribe the fee for providing answer scripts or not. Since the matter was settled by this judgment, during the submissions on 15.07.2019, the CPIO submitted that the University had now started providing the evaluated answer scripts as per the fee applicable under RTI in case the appellant applies 5 for the same under RTI. Accordingly, it was further submitted that the appellant could be provided the copy of her evaluated answer script.
12.She further submitted that there are a plethora of judgments in this respect to indicate that the evaluated answer scripts can be provided only to the examinee and is personal to the examinee concerned and therefore, covered by Sec 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act vis-a-vis any other person. Therefore, the answer script could be provided only to the appellant after due verification, it could not have been sent through post in view of the sensitivity and confidentiality attached to the document.

SUBMISSIONS TO INDICATE THAT THE ACTION OF THE DEEMED PIOS AND CPIO WERE BONAFIDE AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREVALENT NORMS AS SET OUT BY THE COURT DECISIONS, POLICY OF THE UNIVERSITY AND THE DECISIONS OF THE COMMISSION She submitted that the university is a public authority u/s 2(h) of the Act, which comprises 16 faculties, over 80 academic departments and more than a dozen schools and centres alongwith innumerable entities besides 85 colleges in its fold. A plain reading of these figures clearly indicates the volume and enormity of academic activities and attendant administrative activities “minute to minute ” in this institution.

The policy of the University to disclose information under the Act through a single channel is only to maintain orderliness in information dissemination in a time bound manner. This single channel process has an inbuilt component of authenticity/availability/accessibility of the information being disseminated under the RTI Act. These attributes are certainly in the realm of the deemed PIOs as envisaged under Sec 5(4) and 5(5) of the RTI Act as it is held by the concerned deemed PIOs as per sec 2(j) of the Act.

She further submitted that the CPIO always sends the complete original application received under the RTI Act to the deemed PIOs for them to read the entire content and make out those portions for which information is available with them. The CPIO always invokes sec 5(4) of the Act in all his/her endorsements to the deemed PIOs to remind them
6 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 that in matters pertaining to their area of activity should invariably be
addressed by them as the information sought in that particular area of
activity is held by that deemed PIO only as per sec 2(j) of the Act.

Therefore, the primary responsibility to ensure that every available
disclosable information has been incorporated in the reply largely lies
with the concerned deemed PIO as per section 5(4) of the Act.

The CPIO, being the Nodal Officer, collects and collates the information
provided by the concerned deemed PIO(s) and forwards it to the
applicant(s) accordingly. Wherever, in the knowledge of the CPIO,
some information is left out, the CPIO directs the concerned deemed
PIO to provide that in a time bound manner.

Taking a cue from the above, she submitted that it is vividly clear that it
is the concerned deemed PIO(s), who are primarily responsible about
the nature, quantum and veracity of the information being disclosed
under the RTI Act. The CPIO cannot be and should not be held
responsible for such information dissemination mechanism.

As far as hearings in the second appeals before the Commission are
concerned, the CPIO invariably forwards the notice of hearing to all the
concerned deemed PIOs for their attendance before the Commission to
defend the matter as per the Act and its letter and spirit. Therefore, any
absence on the part of the deemed PIOs cannot be attributed to the
CPIO as CPIO does not have any supervisory jurisdiction to ensure their
presence before the Commission.

Therefore, if any matter, according to the Commission could not be
defended before it because of the absence of deemed PIO(s), the
responsibility of such inaction on the part of the deemed PIO(s) cannot
be attributed to the CPIO.
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Accordingly, this case needs to be examined from the perspective laid
out above. Having said this, the specific submissions in this matter were
submitted by her as follows:

It is fervently submitted that the response provided to the appellant was
very much point-wise and each of the issues indicated in the query were
responded to as per the inputs from the deemed PIOs.

It was submitted during the hearing that in the instant matter, the case
was under consideration of the Examination Branch for rectification of
the result of the candidate and the discrepancy had not been resolved
and the query and its outcome had therefore not reached finality.

She further submitted that it is pertinent to note that there are plethora
of judgments in this respect to indicate that the evaluated answer scripts
can be provided only to the examinee and is personal to the examinee
concerned and therefore, covered by section 8(1)(j) of the Act vis-a-vis
any other person. Therefore, the answer script would be provided only
to the appellant after due verification, it could not have been sent
through post in view of the sensitivity and confidentiality attached to the
document.

This aspect of the CPIO’s submission has not been included in the
decision of the Commission in this matter.

Further, through the submissions hereinafter, an attempt is being made
to indicate that the CPIO and the deemed PIOs worked within the broad
framework laid down by the RTI Act 2005 duly supplemented by the
policy of the public authority, the decisions of the Courts and the
relevant decisions of the Commission while relying on the suo moto
disclosure policy of the University with respect to the disclosure of
evaluated answer script.

In this context, it is further submitted that a comprehensive study of the
judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its entirety would reveal that
in this judgment, the Hon’ble Court relied on Sec 22 to a limited extent
to indicate that the examining body will be bound to provide access to
8 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 an examinee to inspect and take copies of his evaluated answer books, even if such inspection or taking copies is barred under the rules/ bye- laws of examining body governing the examinations.

She relied on the decision of the the Apex Court in the case of CBSE vs Aditya
Bandopadhyay & Ors on 9 August, 2011, CIVIL APPEAL NO.6454 OF
2011[Arising out of SLP [C] No.7526/2009. The paras relied by her are as
follows:

“31. The effect of the provisions and scheme of the RTI Act is to divide `information’ into the three categories. They are :
(i) Information which promotes transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, disclosure of which may also help in containing or discouraging corruption (enumerated in clauses (b) and (c) of section 4(1) of RTI Act).
(ii) Other information held by public authority (that is all information other than those falling under clauses (b) and (c) of section 4(1) of RTI Act).
(iii) Information which is not held by or under the control of any public authority and which cannot be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.

Information under the third category does not fall within the scope of RTI Act. Section 3 of RTI Act gives every citizen, the right to `information’ held by or under the control of a public authority, which falls either under the first or second category. In regard to the information falling under the first category, there is also a special responsibility upon public authorities to suo moto publish and disseminate such information so that they will be easily and readily accessible to the public without any need to access them by having recourse to section 6 of RTI Act. There is no such obligation to publish and disseminate the other information which falls under the second category.
33. Some High Courts have held that section 8 of RTI Act is in the nature of an exception to section 3 which empowers the citizens with the right to information, which is a derivative from the freedom of speech; and
9 that therefore section 8 should be construed strictly, literally and
narrowly. This may not be the correct approach. The Act seeks to bring
about a balance between two conflicting interests, as harmony between
them is essential for preserving democracy. One is to bring about
transparency and accountability by providing access to information
under the control of public authorities. The other is to ensure that the
revelation of information, in actual practice, does not conflict with other
public interests which include efficient operation of the governments,
optimum use of limited fiscal resources and preservation of
confidentiality of sensitive information. The preamble to the Act
specifically states that the object of the Act is to harmonise these two
conflicting interests. While sections 3 and 4 seek to achieve the first
objective, sections 8, 9, 10 and 11 seek to achieve the second objective.
Therefore when section 8 exempts certain information from being
disclosed, it should not be considered to be a fetter on the right to
information, but as an equally important provision protecting other
public interests essential for the fulfilment and preservation of
democratic ideals.
37. The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to
information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of
responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and
accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and
all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information
under clause (b) of section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing
transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and
in discouraging corruption. But in regard to other information,(that is
information other than those enumerated in section 4(1)(b) and (c) of the
Act), equal importance and emphasis are given to other public interests
(like confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary
relationships, efficient operation of governments, etc.). Indiscriminate
and impractical demands or directions underRTI Act for disclosure of all
and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in
the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption)
would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of
the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with
the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The
Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to
10 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising `information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”

She further relied on paras 34, 40 and 48 of the decision of the Delhi High
Court in the case of Registrar Of Companies & Ors vs Dharmendra Kumar Garg
& Anr on 01.06.2012. The relevant paras are enumerated below:
“34. From the above, it appears that the expression ―held by‖ or ―under the control of any public authority‖, in rela?on to ―informa?on‖, means that information which is held by the public authority under its control to the exclusion of others. It cannot mean that information which the public authority has already ―let go‖, i.e. shared generally with the citizens, and also that information, in respect of which there is a statutory mechanism evolved, (independent of the RTI Act) which obliges the public authority to share the same with the citizenry by following the prescribed procedure, and upon fulfillment of the prescribed conditions. This is so, because in respect of such information, which the public authority is statutorily obliged to disseminate, it cannot be said that the public authority ―holds‖ or ―controls‖ the same. There is no exclusivity in such holding or control. In fact, the control vests in the seeker of the information who has only to operate the statutorily prescribed mechanism to access the information. It is not this kind of information, which appears to fall within the meaning of the expression ―right to informa?on‖, as the informa?on in rela?on to which the ―right to informa?on‖ is specifically conferred by the RTI Act is that information which “is held by or under the control of any public authority”.

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40. Section 4 of the RTI Act obliges every public authority, inter alia, to
publish on its own, information described in clause (b) of sub-Section (1)
of Section 4. Sub-clause (xv) of clause (b) obliges the public authority to
publish “the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining
information ….. ….. …..”. In the present case, the facility is made
available – not just to citizens but to any person, for obtaining
information from the ROC, under Section 610 of the Companies Act, and
the Rules framed thereunder above referred to. Section 4(2) of the RTI
Act itself postulates that in respect of information provided by the public
authority suo moto, there should be minimum resort to use of the RTI
Act to obtain information.

48. In Sh. K. Lall Vs. Sh. M.K. Bagri, Assistant Registrar of Companies &
CPIO, F. No. CIC/AT/A/2007/00112, the Central Information
Commissioner Sh. A.N. Tiwari squarely considered the very same issue
with regard to the interplay between Section 610 of the Companies Act
and the rights of a citizen to obtain information under the RTI Act. Sh.
A.N. Tiwari by a detailed and considered decision held that information
which can be accessed by resort to Section 610 of the Companies Act
cannot be accessed by resort to the provisions of the RTI Act. The
discussion found in his aforesaid order on this legal issue reads as
follows:
“9. It shall be interesting to examine this proposition. Section 2(j) of the RTI Act speaks of “the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority…….”. The use of the words “accessible under this Act”;
“held by” and “under the control of” are crucial in this regard. The inference from the text of this sub-section and, especially the three expressions quoted above, is that an information to which a citizen will have a right should be shown to be
a) an information which is accessible under the RTI Act and
b) that it is held or is under the control of a certain public authority. This should mean that unless an information is exclusively held and controlled by a public authority, that information cannot be said to be an information accessible under the RTI Act. Inferentially it would mean that once a certain information is placed in the public domain accessible to the
12 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 citizens either freely, or on payment of a pre-determined price,
that information cannot be said to be „held‟ or „under the control
of‟ the public authority and, thus would cease to be an
information accessible under the RTI Act. This interpretation is
further strengthened by the provisions of the RTI Act in Sections
4(2), 4(3) and 4(4), which oblige the public authority to constantly
endeavour “to take steps in accordance with the requirement of
clause b of subsection 1 of the Section 4 to provide as much
information suo-motu to the public at regular intervals through
various means of communication including internet, so that the
public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain
information.” (Section 4 sub-section 2). This Section further
elaborates the position. It states that “All materials shall be
disseminated taking into consideration the cost effectiveness, local
language and the most effective method of communication in that
local area and the information should be easily accessible, to the
extent possible in electronic format with the Central Public
Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case
may be, available free or at such cost of the medium or the print
cost price as may be prescribed.” The explanation to the
subsection 4 section 4 goes on to further clarify that the word “disseminated” used in this Section would mean the medium of
communicating the information to the public which include,
among others, the internet or any other means including
inspection of office of any public authority.
10. It is significant that the direction regarding dissemination of
information through free or priced documents, or free or priced
access to information stored on internet, electronic means, or held
manually; free or on payment of predetermined cost for inspection
of such documents or records held by public authorities, appear in
a chapter on „obligations of public authorities‟. The inference from
these sections is a) it is the obligation of the public authorities to
voluntarily disseminate information so that “the public have
minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information”, b)
once an information is voluntarily disseminated it is excluded from
13 the purview of the RTI Act and, to that extant, contributes to
minimizing the resort to the use of this Act, c) there is no
obligation cast on the public authority to disseminate all such
information free of cost. The Act authorizes the public authorities
to disclose such information suo-motu “at such cost of a medium
or the print cost price as may be prescribed”, d) the RTI
Act authorizes the public authority to price access to the
information which it places in the public domain suo-motu.
11. These provisions are in consonance with the wording of
the Section 2(j) which clearly demarcates the boundary between
an information held or under the control of the public authority
and, an information not so held, or under the control of that public
authority who suo-motu places that information in public domain.
It is only the former which shall be “accessible under this Act” ―
viz. the RTI Act and, not the latter. This latter category of
information forms the burden of sub-section 2, 3 and 4 of Section 4
of this Act.
12. The RTI Act very clearly sets the course for the evolution of the
RTI regime, which is that less and less information should be
progressively held by public authorities, which would be accessed
under the RTI Act and more and more of such held information
should be brought into the public domain suo-motu by such public
authority. Once the information is brought into the public domain
it is excluded from the purview of the RTI Act and, the right to
access this category of information shall be on the basis of
whether the public authority discloses it free, or at such cost of the
medium or the print cost price “as may be prescribed”. The
Act therefore vests in the public authority the power and the right
to prescribe the mode of access to voluntarily disclosed
information, i.e. either free or at a prescribed cost / price.
13. The respondents are right therefore in arguing that since they
had placed in the public domain a large part of the information
requested by the appellant and prescribed the price of accessing
that information either on the internet or through inspection of
documents, the ground rules of accessing this information shall be
determined by the decision of the public authority and not the RTI
Act and the Rules. That is to say, such information shall not be
14 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 covered by the provisions about fee and cost of supply of
information as laid down in Section 7 of the RTI Act and the Rules
thereof.
14. It is, therefore, my view that it should not only be the
endeavour of every public authority, but its sacred duty, to suo-
motu bring into public domain information held in its control. The
public authority will have the power and the right to decide the
price at which all such voluntarily disclosed information shall be
allowed to be accessed.
15. There is one additional point which also needs to be considered
in this matter. The appellant had brought up the issue of the
overarching power of the RTI Act under Section 22. This Section of
the Act states that the provisions of the Act shall have effect
notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in
the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being
in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law
other than this Act. In his view, the pricing of the access to the
records and information by the public authority at a scale different
from the rates / fees for accessing the information prescribed
under the Act amounts to inconsistency. A closer look at the
provision shows that this is not so. As has been explained in the
preceding paragraphs, the fees prescribed for access to
information under the RTI Act applies only to information „held‟ or
„under the control of‟ the public authority. It does not apply
inferentially to the information not held or not under the control of
the public authority having been brought into the public domain
suo-motu in terms of sub- section 3 of Section 4. The price and the
cost of access of information determined by the public authority
applies to the latter category. As such, there is no inconsistency
between the two provisions which are actually parallel and
independent of each other. I therefore hold that no ground to
annul the provision of pricing the information which the public
authority in this case has done, exists.
16. In my considered view, therefore, the CPIO and the AA were
acting in consonance with the provision of this Act when they
15 called upon the appellant to access the information requested and not otherwise supplied to him by the CPIO, by paying the price / cost as determined by the public authority.”

She further submitted that the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in
Registrar of Companies & Ors vs Dharmendra Kumar Garg & Ors (WP(C)
11271/2009 decided on 01.06.2012 was decided during the currency of the
judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of CBSE vs Aditya Bandopadhyaya
& Ors, Civil Appeal no. 6454/2011.

Observations:

Based on a perusal of the above submissions of the CPIO, the Commission
noted that the CPIO has not understood the provisions of the RTI Act properly..
The CPIO submitted that regarding the attendance sheet sought by the
appellant, the deemed PIO, Assistant Registrar (Exam) SOL indicated that the
attendance sheet would be available with the concerned Examination Centre
and she may approach the same in this regard. She further submitted that the
appellant was provided the necessary information and her result was also
revised in May, 2018 itself and the statement of marks available on the SOL
website reflected the revised result, which could have been downloaded by
the appellant. Since the case was resolved, the requirement of providing the
attendance sheet was felt to be not required and accordingly the deemed
PIO while complying with the decision of the First Appellate Authority, did
not provide the same but clearly provided the links where her revised result
would be available. The Commission is aghast to see this attitude and
interpretation of the CPIO. Moreover, from where she derived the locus to
decide that the requirement of providing the attendance sheet was not
required is also not understood. As per the Act ,once an applicant had sought
particular information, it should be given or denied under the exemption
clause of the Act. The question of whether the case was resolved or not is
irrelevant under the RTI Act. This is clearly indicative of
the lack of application of mind in providing the reply. Moreover, it is an
instance of gross miscarriage of justice. The appellant has been subjected to
undue harassment which was in violation of the RTI Act. Any administrative
delay devoid of the adherence to the RTI Act does not stand in view of the
judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Aditya Bandopadhya.
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File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 The Act reflects a lack of application of mind as well as a complete ignorance of
the principles of RTI Act that a CPIO entrusted with responsibilities under the
RTI Act must be aware of. Moreover, while the CPIO has limited herself to the
final decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of ICSI vs Paras Jain, she has
failed to provide any reasons for not providing the copy of the answer sheet at
this juncture also. She merely submitted orally that the copy of the evaluated
answer script can be given.
No reasonable person, on the basis of the material placed before us, can come
to the conclusion that the CPIOs and the deemed PIOs acts are such that
penalty should not be imposed.. Reasons given for concluding that the
evaluated answer scripts could be provided only to the appellant after due
verification, it could not have been sent through post in view of the sensitivity
and confidentiality attached to the document are not satisfactory at all and the
basis for such a reply has not been justified at all. The Commission is of the
view that the appellant has been unjustifiably denied her right to information.
The conclusion arrived at by the respondent is not cogent
and lacks proper application of mind. The CPIO also misinterpreted the well
accepted scheme of the RTI Act.
The detailed arguments of the parties on the issue have already been noted.
There is misinterpretation/misapplication/erroneous interpretation of the RTI
Act and the Rules framed thereunder.

Decision:

The CPIO, in the present case, failed to apply even the usually accepted
method of replying. The CPIO appears to be lacking proper training in terms of
RTI Act. It is a sorry state of affairs and the Delhi University is required to take
corrective measures. The lapse committed by the CPIO if allowed to continue
by the University, it will not be possible to cherish the RTI statute.

In the light of the above legal position it is held that the CPIO, deemed PIOs
have totally misdirected the appellant. In the present case, there was ample
evidence, both documentary and oral, before the Commission, and it cannot
be said to be a case of no evidence. Hence, undoubtedly and error has been 17 committed in not providing the attendance sheet as well as the answer-sheet
to the appellant.

During the personal hearing as also in any of the communications, the CPIO
and the deemed PIOs have not even expressed regret or remorse about this
gross error. Considering all these facts, the Commission considers it expedient
to issue a strict warning to the CPIO and deemed PIOs to be careful in future.
The Commission however refrains from imposing any penalty as no malafide
was found. Moreover, the appellant after revision of the result had not passed
in the exam. Hence, technically she appeared again and had successfully
completed her course this time. The CPIO and the deemed PIOs are strictly
warned to not guide applicants to approach here and there for accessing
information. They should collect and provide the information as available on
record or while denying information should do so under the appropriate
exemption clauses of the Act.

A copy of this order is marked to the Vice Chancellor, Delhi University as an
advisory u/s 25(5) of the Act to arrange for training programmes for its officers
on the important provisions of the RTI Act.

The appeal is disposed of accordingly. Vanaja N. Sarna (वनजा एन. सरना) Information Commissioner (सच ू ना आयु त)
Authenticated true copy
(अ भ मा णत स या पत त) A.K. Assija (ऐ.के. असीजा)
Dy. Registrar (उप-पंजीयक)
011- 26182594 / दनांक / Date 18 File no.: CIC/UODEL/A/2018/130955 Copy to: Vice Chancellor
University of Delhi,
Administrative Building, Delhi-110 007 19

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