CIC can order depts to probe missing files: HChttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/cic-can-order-depts-to-probe-missing-files-hc/

CIC can order depts to probe missing files: HC

HC bench issued the order on a plea by the Government of India against an order of the CIC.

Noting,“It is not uncommon in government departments to evade disclosure of information taking the plea information sought is not available,” the Delhi HC said the Chief Information Commission can direct a government department to inquire into “missing” files “wherever it is claimed…information sought is not traceable.”

HC bench issued the order on a plea by the Government of India against an order of the CIC seeking an inquiry by the Secretary,Ministry of Tourism,into a missing project report on an Ayurvedic Health Resort and Herbal Garden at Vagamon,Kerala,submitted by Kerala Government in December 2005. In 2011,in reply to an RTI application PIO,Tourism Ministry,stated the report had never been received.

The applicant,Vishwas Bhamburkar,approached the Appellate authority,which observed a photocopy submitted by him indicated the file had been received by the Ministry. He approached the CIC,where PIO,Tourism Ministry,confirmed that signatures on it were those of the then Joint Secretary and Director of the MoT. The PIO said there was “no trace of the said report…”

The CIC had observed “either the PIO or other officer could be hiding the information or report could be forged or there could be a conspiracy by which the report and associated papers were taken away from the Government.”