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news details
RTI doesn't compel PIO to create info, says SIC
PRC issued in 1947
10/10/2018 10:26:35 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Oct 10: The State Information Commission (SIC) has held that information which is not available with a Public Information Officer (PIO) can't be provided, as RTI law does not compel a public authority to do what is otherwise impossible or to produce a document which does not exist in the records of the public authority.
The SIC gave this judgment while hearing an appeal filed by one Verinder Sundan, a resident of Patoli Mangotrian, Jammu, who had sought details of a Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) that was issued in 1947.
The RTI application was filed by Sudan on 18.01.2018 before the PIO in the office of Regional Director Survey and Land Records Jammu, seeking complete records in respect of PRC issued by Wazir-Wazarat in 1947 in PRC file No. 138/PRC of 2004 (Bikrami).
In another RTI application, Verinder had sought similar information with respect to PRC file No. 130/PRC of 2004 (Bikrami) issued in favour of one Dina Nath. The APIO/Naib Tehsildar, Incharge Record Room (General) informed the appellant vide his communication dated: 19.02.2018, that the relevant PRC files of the year 2004 (Bikrami) could not be traced out from the records available in the General Record Room.
Not satisfied with the reply of the APIO, the appellant filed First Appeal with the Regional Director, Survey and Land Records on 03.03.2018. The First Appeal was disposed of by the Regional Director who is also the First Appellate Authority (FAA) on 09.04.2018, with the observations that the information with respect to the record, which is not traceable/available in the record room, cannot be provided.
Aggrieved by the order of the Regional Director/FAA, the appellant filed second appeal before the SIC on 31.05.2018 which was admitted on 18.07.2018, praying for a direction to the FAA and the APIO to furnish the information as asked for by the appellant.
The appeal came up for hearing before this Commission on 26.09.2018. The appellant, the APIO/Omkar Saini, Naib Tehsildar, Record Room Jammu and Basant Kumar Pandit, Naib Tehsildar/Reader to Regional Director, Survey and Land Records, Jammu (on behalf of FAA) were present during the hearing.
The SIC held: "The appellant, in the present case, has sought information by way of photocopy of PRC case files No. 138/PRC of 2004 (Bikrami) and No. 130/PRC of 2004 (Bikrami) which corresponds to the year 1947 AD. The APIO of the Central Record Room (General), where old records are kept and preserved, has informed the appellant that these two files are not forthcoming from the records maintained by the Central Record Room (General). Under the provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 the public authority or its PIO is under an obligation to provide record that is available and existing with, or held by, the public authority. If any particular document or record is not available with the public authority, for whatever reasons that may be, it may not be possible for the public authority or the PIO to furnish information relating to such records or document to an information seeker.
"The RTI law does not compel a public authority or the PIO to do what is otherwise impossible or to produce a document which does not exist in the records of the public authority. Since the information sought by the appellant, in the present case, is not available in the Central Record Room and the APIO of the Record Room having informed the appellant about nonexistence of the record sought by the appellant through his RTI request, no direction or order can be issued by the Commission compelling the PIO to manufacture or create such information. The appeal is accordingly disposed of without any orders or directions."
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