Frivolous RTI reply from Prime Ministers Office Mumbai : 9820174108

Dear All,
The following is for General Information and future case reference.
Appeared in  "Times of India", Mumbai edition, dated 12, September'2008, page no. 15.
Keep Smiling ... Hemant Agarwal


Frivolous RTI reply from PMO

Officer Denies Info Saying There’s No Place Called ‘President House’

New Delhi: If there are frivolous RTI applications, here is an example of a frivolous reply, that too by the information officer of no less than the Prime Minister’s Office. On a query that referred to Rashtrapati Bhawan as “President House”, PMO’s information officer Amit Agrawal said in all solemnity that he was unable to respond since he was “not aware of any public authority named President House”.
   This despite the fact that, on a similar application from the same person, Radhika Arora, Rashtrapati Bhavan has had no problem in responding to being addressed as President House.
   But that was of little consolation to Arora as she did not get the information she sought: copies of the complaints received against members of the Central Information Commission. Though Arora simply asked for copies of the complaints, Rashtrapati Bhavan vaguely said that it could not supply the desired information as it did not “maintain records in requested form”. It added that it was willing to give information about any complaint only if the applicant Rashtrapati Bhavan already knew about its existence. “If you desire to know about any particular complaint, you may mention the particulars of such complaint,” its information officer Faiz Ahmed Kidwai said.
   PMO came up with a different excuse for stonewalling the query about the complaints against CIC members. Agrawal said that an attempt to compile the information would “disproportionately divert the recourses of this office.”
   Such cavalier attitude to RTI was displayed by the two highest public authorities—head of state and head of government—on applications that sought copies of the complaints against CIC members and asked if any action had been taken on them. The complaints against CIC members assume significance in the light of growing dissatisfaction among people with the functioning of the appellate authority which is perceived to be sitting on cases and lax in using its power to penalize errant information officers.
   Section 14 of the RTI Act empowers the President to remove a CIC member for “proved misbehaviour” if the SC, on a reference from Rashtrapati Bhavan, finds the complaint to be well founded.

Reply Mumbai : 9820174108

If PIO's give such irrelevant informations (specially the PIO's of PM's office),  the other PIO's from different sections will automatically feel emboldened to give irrelevant informations to the general public as well.

A general conclusion is that the PIO's and the first appeal officer and the IC's are lax in their work.

Keep Smiling ... HemantAgarwal


retd personal

Amit Agarwal has been as the first appellate auth in reply by the PIO of PMO in respect to query:

a) Amount doled out to NGOs for the last five years

b ) Action taken to scrutinise end use of that money.

c) Amount of tax exempted to NGOs.

d) Amount of foreign aid received by the NGOs

retd personal

I have recd reply from Sri Amit Agarwal, Director, First Appellate Auth in the PMO on my query posted above as follows:

First CPIO's Reply " --and to state the requisite info is not held by this office. Section 6(1) of the RTI Act 2005 ,---sec 6(3) provides that----the public auth ---shall transfer the application to that auth.The info sought by is scattered with more than one other public auth. Therefore your application is not to be transferred to another public auth under section 6(3) of RTI Act 2005."- on 20 Oct 2011.

On 29 Sep I received a letter from CPIO Min of Fin Deptt of Revenue on a similar appeal made earlier on 06 Sep2011.It states:"  --Since the requested info does not fall within the jurisdiction of CBDT, Deptt of Revenue & it is closely related to Min of Social Justice & Empowerment, therefore RTI application is in original is sent herewith for necessary action at their end.----In case it does not relate to Min of Social Justice & Empowerment it may please be further transferred to the public auth to which matter more closely connected directly under intimation to the applicant. That letter was addsd to Min of Social Justice with copy endorsed to me.

On 30 Sep 2011 CPIO , Min of Fin , Deptt of Revenue despatched another letter this time to its CPIO, CBDT to furnish info on tax relief being provided to the NGOs. CBDT denied info stating no such info available with this office- on 19 Oct 2011.

On 24 oct 2011 Min of Social Justice returned the appl back to min of finance stating subject matter does not pertain to this ministry. The transfer of the appl is not accepted.

on 23 Nov min of financed literally rebuked the min of Justice stating tr of appl under sec 6(3) was in order. It also reminded Min of Social Justice that such info in the name of Grant in aid to NGOs are found mentioned and hence the appl is once again transferred to your office.

The tigers in the Min of Social Justice on 25 Oct 2011 wrote to me ---' that undersigned is in receipt of forwarding letter without RTI appl. So it is difficult for me to give any info /reply. ------that it appears that it is grant in aid given to NGOs( reminded me of your " there is no place called PRESIDENT's House").. The same CPIO returned my application forwarded by Min of Fin to the min of Finance earlier.

Coming back to the reply of Sri Amit Agarwal of PMO - On 05 Dec 2011 he wrote as the First Appellate Auth -" To state the requisite info is not held by this office.Sec 6(1) RTI Act 2005 provides that a person who desires to obtain any info shall make a request to the public info officer of the public auth concerned. Sec 6(3) provides ..........shall transfer appl to that public authority.The info sought by you is scattered with more than one other public auth. Therefore your application is not transferred to another public auth under section 6(3) of RTI Act 2005.

I am att my appl to Fin Ministry for your info:-




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