Smt. Deepak Sandhu, Dated: 24 September 2013
Chief Information Commissioner
Central Information Commission,
II Floor, August Kranti Bhavan,
Bhikaji Kama Place,
Re: Application to Recall Order passed in Appeal No. CIC/DS/A/2011/2305 Dated 15 July 2013 in the matter of Shri Gopal Soni (In Person) V/s New India Assurance Co. Ltd,Mumbai (Represented by Shri S.K.Dash,Mgr.).
1) The matter concerns the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, i.e., Source of livelihood of the applicant. The corruption is so rampant in insurance company that a well known bribe taker of the Company booked under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 in January 2003 enjoys clout as an association leader at Jaipur with an altered name officially permitted and also continues to be paid under salary No. 26019. Moreover, its chairman under suspension by Govt. of India since 12.8.2011, is accused of causing loss of public money of about Rs. six hundred crores.
2) The Applicant, an honest Hindi Translator submitted RTI application dated 19 May 2012 before the Official Language Department, Delhi, the nodal agency to implement the Rules of Official Language (1976), in terms of which Hindi Translators / officers are needed seeking details from New India Assurance Company Ltd (hereinafter called as ‘NIACL’) regarding status of his employment as per the records of NIACL on 09/04/2012 along with other information.
3) The RTI application was transferred dated 15.6.2012 to NIACL.Vide CIPO,NIACL Order dated 12/07/2012 w.r.t. the information sought under Point No 2,3,4,5,6 & 7, CPIO forwarded evasive and vague replies received from the so called departments and denied information sought under Point No 1.
4) Not satisfied by the reply of the CPIO, the applicant preferred First Appeal to the First Appellate Authority (FAA) dated 07/08/2012. The FAA, a D.G.M. of NIACL vide order dated 23/08/2012, upheld the Order of the CPIO.
5) Being aggrieved and not satisfied by lack of accountability of FAA , the applicant preferred a Second Appeal before the CIC which was heard on 15/07/2013, where a manager of respondents appeared in person and the applicant was heard through video conferencing.
6) It is pertinent to mention here that the notice for the hearing dated 14/06/2013 before the Commission was issued to the following authorities of NIACL,87,M.G. Road,Mumbai-1
(a) Chief Manager cum CPIO
(b) Appellate authority of the rank of D.G.M.
7) According to notice dated 14 June 2013 the aforesaid authorities of NIACL mentioned in (a) and (b) above were not required to be represented by an officer below the rank of CPIO. It was also mentioned in the notice that both of the authorities of NIACL were required to be present through video conference at Mumbai.
8) One S. K. Dash, ranked Manager, which is, indisputably, a rank below the rank of CPIO pretended himself as CPIO in contravention of notice command of the CIC dated 14/06/2013.
9) At the very outset, the applicant objected to appearance of Mr. Dash on the ground that he was incompetent in terms of the notice of CIC.
10) It is to be noted that the notice of CIC dated 14/06/2013 nowhere states that the CPIO may delegate his authority to an inferior ranking officer ,therefore the recording of the statement of such officer who is below the rank mentioned is unwarranted.
11) That Mr. Dash, being incompetent representative of respondent insurance company who had to somehow justify his unjustified tour to CIC from Mumbai to Delhi at the cost of public money of about Rs. 22700/- complained that applicant had called him impotent which is an absolute falsehood and the same was vehemently denied.
12) That the repeated pleas of the applicant objecting to illegal manner of representation by a non competent person infuriated the CIC to such extent that she abruptly closed the hearing.
13) That an RTI dated 3.08.2013 was filed in the matter by the applicant to which the CPIO of the CIC replied that there was neither a file noting nor any audio /video recording of hearing dated 15/07/2013 to support the charge of one Mr. Dash against the applicant that he was using so called unparliamentary language.
14) That a further perusal of the notice dated 14.06.2013 of CIC discloses the biased attitude the CIC to the respondent Insurance Company, more so towards the Public Authorities in general, in as much as the notice directed the applicant to provide a copy of the second appeal to both the CPIO and Appellate Authority. In contrast, the respondents were merely directed to send their written comments on the appeal to the commission and were not directed to send the copy of the same to the applicant instituting the RTI. This amounts to gross violation of the basic Principles of Natural Justice ( called utmost good faith in terms of Principles of Insurance ) as it violates the basic rule of administrative proceedings, namely, the rule against bias.
15) Further, Audi Alteram Partem (Right to be heard) is basic and fundamental principle of natural justice which forms a part of administrative and procedural laws that no one should be deprived of his valuable right to be heard, the violation of which results in the infringement of Art 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
Accordingly, it is not only arbitrary and unconstitutional but also a gross violation of rule of law when the applicant’s application is dismissed without the applicant being heard and more so when he is not given a chance of rebutting the evidence used against him.
16) Moreover, the Audi Alteram Partem entails four principles. Firstly, a party to the administrative enquiry must be afforded an opportunity to state his case before a decision is reached, if such a decision is likely to affect his rights or legitimate expectations. Secondly, prejudicial facts must be communicated to the person who may be affected by the administrative decision, in order to enable him to rebut such facts. Thirdly, the rule also stipulates that the administrative tribunal which has taken the decision must give reasons for its decisions. Fourthly, the rule entails that the administrative organ exercising the discretion must be impartial.
17) That, by virtue of the above, the order dated 15/07/2013 deserves to be recalled.
18) This application for recall of the order may kindly be allowed for substantial grounds and in the interest of justice mentioned above
In the hope of getting justice at your honour’s judicious hands
(SHRI GOPAL SONI), Tel.0145-2644106
Annexure S-1: Notice of CIC dated 14th June 2013
Annexure S-2: Decision/ Order of CIC July 15, 2013, around 3:45 P.M.
Annexure S-3: RTI reply by the CPIO of the CIC