Thursday, 29 January 2015

RTI Application & Appeal: Bureaucracy does not respond, Service HQ obfuscates

Part I - Bureaucracy Unresponsive; Part II - Services HQ Obfuscates
*        *        *        *        *        *
Part I

Online RTI Request Form Details
(DOP & T/R/2014/64336 dated 16 Oct 2014)

Public Authority Details:-
* Public Authority Department of Personnel & Training
Personal Details of RTI Applicant:-
* Name S Y SAVUR
Request Details :-
Citizenship Indian
* Is the Requester Below Poverty Line ? No
(Description of Information sought (upto 500 characters)
* Description of Information Sought
Please refer to Para 3 of Govt of India, Ministry of Finance, Deptt of Expenditure Resolution No. 1/1/2013-E.III.A dated 28th February 2014 and
Questionnaire of 7 Central Pay Commission furnished vide D.O. No. 7CPC/15/Questionnaire dated 9th April 2014.

2. Please provide me with the information and documents provided by DOP & T in response to the Para  2 (e) of the ibid Resolution dated 28th February
2014 as well as response/reply to the Questionnaire of 7 CPC dated 9th April 2014.

3. Additional payment for photocopies of the information will be paid online as and when intimated by CPIO, DOP & T.
* Concerned CPIO Nodal Officer
Suppor􀆟ng document (only pdf upto 1 MB) Suppor􀆟ng document not provided

Online RTI Appeal Form Details
DOP & T /A/2014/60806 dated 24 Nov 2014

Public Authority Details:-
* Public Authority Department of Personnel & Training
Personal Details of Appellant:-
Request Registration Number DOP&T/R/2014/64336
Request Registration Date 16/10/2014
* Name S Y SAVUR

Appeal Details :-
Ci􀆟zenship Indian

* Is the Requester Below Poverty Line ? No

* Ground For Appeal No Response Within the Time Limit
* CPIO of Public Authority approached Nodal Officer
CPIO's Order/Decision Number Details not provided

* CPIO's Order/Decision Date
(Description of Information sought (upto 500 characters)

* Prayer or Relief Sought

CPIO had been requested to provide information as follows: -

1. Please refer to Para 3 of Govt of India, Ministry of Finance, Deptt of Expenditure Resolution No. 1/1/2013-E.III.A dated 28th February 2014 and Questionnaire of 7 Central Pay Commission furnished vide D.O. No. 7CPC/15/Questionnaire dated 9th April 2014.

2. Please provide me with the information and documents provided by DOP & T in response to the Para e of the ibid Resolution dated 28th February
2014 as well as response/reply to the Questionnaire of 7 CPC dated 9th April 2014.

3. Additional payment for photocopies of the information will be paid online as and when inmated by CPIO, DOP & T.

So far I neither received any information nor a denial or refusal of the information applied for.

Net Result: Contrary to Prime Minister ordering the bureaucracy to be responsive, there has been no reply neither to the application nor to the appeal.

P.S: DOP & T deals with rules etc for RTI Act, 2005

*        *        *        *        *

Part – II

& Services HQ………………

Online RTI Request Form Details

Public Authority Details:-
* Public Authority Department of Defence
Personal Details of RTI Applicant:-
Request Details:-
Citizenship Indian
* Is the Requester Below Poverty Line? No
(Description of Information sought (upto 500 characters)
* Description of Information Sought
I refer to MODEF/R/2014/61177 dated 30th June 2014 transferred to Service HQ vide No. 21/4/2014-D (PCC) dated 28th July 2014 and received by this applicant on 5th August 2014.

2. Services HQ have stated that MoD is the custodian of the information.

3. Now, 7 CPC vide 7CPC/66/RTI/2014 dated 11th November 2014 (supporting document is attached for ready reference) that MoD is the custodian of the information.

4. Therefore, as custodian of the information, please provide this applicant with a photocopy of the Joint Service Memorandum (JSM).

Reply dated 19 Dec 2014 from TRIPAS

Telephone: 23011257
Fax: 23011257/23006530
Tri Service Pay Staff (TRIPAS)
Room No. 116, Kashmir House,
Rajaji Marg,
New Delhi – 110 011
C/7026/VIIth CPC                                                     


Dear Sir,

1.       Please refer to your online application No. MODEF/R/2014/62182 dated 23 Nov 14 filed with MoD, which has subsequently been transferred by MoD to Services.

2.       Your request has been examined and it has been decided that in order to apprise the veterans about the Services proposals submitted to 7th CPC, a presentation to a select group of ESM would be made by the Services. The schedule of the presentation would be intimated to you as soon as it is finalised.
3.       We hope that this will meet your requirement.
(V S Chauhan)
Director TRIPAS
Copy to: -
MoD D (Pay Commission Cell)
MoD D (Pay/Services)


Air Marshal S Y Savur PVSM AVSM
Veteran                                                                                   141, Jal Vayu Towers,
Cellphones: +91 9449676278                                                   N G E F Layout,
                   +91 9688782227                                                    Indira Nagar (PO),
Email:                                                    Bengaluru – 560 038
Blog URL:

SYS/RTI/2014/62182/JSM                                                   02 Jan 15

Cdr V S Chauhan
Director, TRIPAS
Room No. 116, Kashmir House,
New Delhi – 110 011
Subject: Request for Information

1.       Please refer to C/7026/VIIth CPC dated 19 Dec 14 (received on 27 Dec 14 by the undersigned) conveying the decision in response to the RTI application for information No. MODEF/R/2014/62182 dated 23 Nov 14 transferred by MoD to TRIPAS.

2.       I do not head or belong to any of the ESM organisations i.e. IESM, IESL, Sanjha Morcha, Disabled Veterans etc etc. Being a simple and, an ethical RTI activist, I have a singular motive – obtain and provide correct and factual information as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005. As a corollary it reduces unnecessary blame on Defence Forces officers in the higher echelons of decision making, as well as minimises avoidable speculation on issues. My belief is that Being Informed is the Best Weapon. 

3.       In view of the aforesaid, the procedure stated in Para 2 of TRIPAS letter dated 19 Dec 14 is in contravention of the RTI Act, 2005 for the following reasons: -

(a)     The Services making a presentation to a “select group of ESM” (emphasis supplied) does not specifically address the request for information vide MODEF/R/2014/61282 dated 23 Nov 14 of the undersigned.
(b)     Secondly, the RTI Act, 2005 does not require the physical presence of the applicant/appellant for information before the CPIO/First Appellate Authority of the Public Authority. The Act, in fact, gives an applicant/appellant the choice of being physically present even for the Second Appeal before the Chief Information Commissioner’s office as an appellant. Even the CIC conducts video-conference to decide on the complaint/appeal. 

(c)     The Public Authority, in this case TRIPAS, has the option of refusing information citing reasons under relevant sections within 30 days of receipt of the request and then provide the applicant an opportunity to appeal to the First Appellant Authority (FAA), whose particulars are to be given in the decision letter, within 30 days of receipt of the reply/refusal by CPIO.

(c)     The applicant, who becomes the appellant, then has the option to either appeal to the FAA within 30 days of receipt of the reply/refusal or not.

(d)     If the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the FAA to be provided with 30 days (and 45 days if reasons for the extra 15 days are given in the order), then one may file a complaint/an appeal with CIC within 90 days of date of receipt of reply/refusal from CPIO.

(e)     A complaint under Section 18 of the RTI Act, 2005 for reasons stated therein, is where the CIC has powers of a Civil Court to impose fines up to Rs 25000 @ Rs 250 per day on the CPIO & or FAA.

(f)      Therefore, the proposal of TRIPAS at Para 2 of the letter dated 19 Dec 14, is in conflict with a statutory law i.e RTI Act, 2005. Agreeing with the proposal would mean agreeing to abet circumvention the RTI Act, 2005.

4.       Further to matter of ethics, the impugned proposal imposes a disproportionate financial burden, if Services decide to invite the undersigned who is a resident of Bengaluru, which is not clear, as given below: -

(a)     Presuming the report in the media of the JSM is of 4000 pages being correct, @ Rs 2 per photocopied page as per the RTI Act, 2005, the undersigned would have to pay Rs 8000/- towards the information requested.

(b)     If as reported elsewhere, the JSM is about 450 pages, the cost to the undersigned would be Rs 900/-.

(c)     On the other hand, travelling to New Delhi by air would cost the undersigned the following: -

(i)      For return airfare                                      Rs 12000

(ii)     For accommodation, meals etc                Rs   2000             
(iii)      For transportation                          Rs   2000

                   Total (approx)                        Rs 16000

5.       Therefore, it would be tantamount to TRIPAS/Services imposing a penalty of between Rs 8000/- (estimate in 2.3.1 above) or Rs 15100 (estimate in 2.3.2 above) on the undersigned for requesting the information, which would, after the presentation be in the public domain, as ESM are not subject to Army, Navy or Air Force Acts, 1950. It is not a procedure in consonance with Sections 5, 6 & 7 of the RTI Act, 2005.   

6.       As stated above, the methodology spelt out in Para 2 of TRIPAS letter of 19 Dec 14 does not meet the requirement for reasons mentioned.

7.       To enable the undersigned applicant for information, TRIPAS, the custodian of the information is requested to be in compliance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, and

(a)     CPIO either provides me the information requested for or states the refusal with reasons as given in Section 7 (8) of the RTI Act, 2005, and

(b)     In case of a refusal to provide information, CPIO may provide particulars of the FAA of TRIPAS to file the first appeal, or

(c)     If TRIPAS decides to deny the information in contravention of Section 7 (9) of the RTI Act, 2005, CPIO may treat this as a notice required under the Rules for lodging a complaint under Section 18 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005 in case information is not provided by 20 Jan 15 i.e. within 30 days from TRIPAS letter dated 19 Dec 14..  
(S Y Savur)
Air Mshl, Veteran

Reply of TRIPAS dated 21 Jan 2015

C/7026/VIIth CPC                                                                21 Jan 2015



1.       Please refer to your letter SYS/RTI/2014/62182/JSM dated 05 Jan 15 (received on 09 Jan 15).

2.       Your request for a copy of ‘Joint Services Memorandum’ (JSM) forwarded to 7th CPC has been re-examined by Services HQ. The issue was also discussed at a Special Tri-Service meeting held on 21 Jan 15.

3.       It has been decided by the competent authority that the JSM is held in fiduciary capacity by Services/TRIPAS and cannot be made public at this stage. The information is therefore denied in accordance with Section 8 (1) (e) of RTI Act, 2005.

4.       However, in order to address your concern and apprise the serving as well as retired personnel about the proposals forwarded to the 7th CPC the Services would be making presentations on these proposals. The IAF has been requested to intimate the details of such presentation being planned near your location. 
(VS Chauhan)
Director TRIPAS
Copy to: -
Air Force Pay Commission Cell, Air HQ
Vayu Bhawan, Room No. 461.


  1. Sir, It may be understandable, from TRIPAS point of view, that they meticulously meet their legal obligations in the matter. Perhaps case laws and finer print associated with the section of RTI Act quoted in the reply would need an evaluation by a legal expert who might have specialization in that specific field.

    However stake holders and readers of this blog can certainly learn and take up some issues which are no longer "held in fiduciary capacity", such as one I had mentioned in my last blog post. Your advice and guidance to those affected assumes special importance in that regard.

  2. u tu brutus !
    It does not surprise me at all that Services bureaucracy is no different from the the civil side

  3. Dear Sir,

    1. Non response by bureaucracy is hardly a surprise but what perplexes me totally is the risibleresponse of Services HQ (TRIPAS).

    2. "Holding JSM in fiduciary capacity". Hilarious explanation! :D
    The proponents of JSM have become self-claimed fiducials!

    3. BTW for everyone's info, Secy 7th CPC ( Mrs. Meena Agarwal) has already written (against any precedence and much to our chagrin) an 18-page letter to MoD seeking their views on all the proposals of Services HQ for 7th CPC. Who are we trying to fool by withholding JSM info? Entire bureaucracy of Delhi knows about each and every thing we have proposed in JSM and it will be OPPPOSED and COUNTERED by them tooth and nail. Just watch.

    Profound regards,
    - Harry

    1. @Harry: It may not be that hilarious. As I mentioned previously, there could, and could certainly means could here, be some justifiable rationale for that reply. The only thing is, there might well be a legal way out too, as I had suggested.

      I have another concern. This arose from some copyright issues I was witness to on another web-site. Notices of infringement had been issued under provisions of law applicable in respective countries but before the legal process could be resolved, some of the aggrieved parties shared the information online and compromised the legal process underway.

      It may not be the same with RTI. But public sharing of matters connected with under-process applications under RTI Act and ongoing correspondence on the same might well pose some legal issues for the status of the application, though only an expert could say if that was the case.

      Once information has been obtained under RTI, then sharing it could be a different issue altogether.

      Again, some light on such matters from owner of the blog would go a long way towards enlightening readers like me.

    2. @sunlit, The process is complete in that information has been denied for whatever reason.

      If the JSM is held by the Services HQ /TRIPAS in fiduciary capacity, wouldn't it be a breach of trust to have presentations to "serving and retired personnel," especially the latter under no obligation to make the contents public?

      Further, even the ongoing process of a challenge to the CIC order in the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi is in the public domain, though the order of the Single Judge In WP (C) No. 8396 of 2009 and tagged cases, has been challenged before a Division Bench.

      If there is indeed a 18 page query from 7 CPC, as stated by Harry, hope he makes it public and then we could construe, with a fair bit of accuracy, the contents of the JSM.

      To paint the full picture, DOP&T appears as reluctant to provide a copy of the memorandum it might have submitted on behalf of the IAS, IPS, IFS etc and Class A services.

    3. Sir, Thank you for clarifying that. Only thing that remains unclear is whether there's a remedy and what would be the forum for obtaining it.

      I'll also look forward to any revelations, if forthcoming from @Harry, on the 18 page query.

    4. @Sunlit

      Sir, with all due respect to you, I still find it hilarious and I have my reasons (partly already covered by @Aerial View) to believe so.

      @Aerial View

      Dear Sir,

      I have sent an e-mail to you with the extract of the letter which I spoke about in my last comment. I do ensure that I don't make any loose comment without knowing the facts.

      Profound regards,
      - Harry

    5. Please read post below on Background Notes for Cab Secy Committee. It appears to be a repetition of requesting the MoD's opinion/position on the Core Anomalies referred to by MoD to 7 CPC under advice from the Committee of Secretaries.

      Will have more ASAP.

  4. Why pass the buck to IAF? Is it a new form of denial of request info.? But from my previous knowledge of 4,5 & 6th CPC, the required info. will be available in the 7 CPC it self. Then why deny now & how long?

  5. Sir,
    Please put PM & RM in the know how by endorsing a copy to the .
    Col Ravi Rao (Retd)

  6. @Sunlit

    Harry is right, it is indeed hilarious.

    There is no occasion for defending the Services HQ.

    They (The Services HQ) are supposed to represent 'YOU' the veterans before the CPC, and hence, common sense dictates that they cannot keep the information from the people they are supposedly representing.

    They have no right to present recommendations to the CPC on behalf of military pensioners unilaterally when those very military pensioners are being denied the privilege of even perusing those views.

    I wholeheartedly support the Air Marshal, and also, despite being associated in a way with the official mechanism, condemn this approach of the Services HQ and those who are advising them.


    1. Complaint under Section 18 of the RTI Act 2005 with a prayer for expediting the hearing is being prepared as the 7 CPC may publish its report some time this year.

    2. @Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh " is indeed hilarious.."

      Well hilarity never hurts.

      However, if one really looks at it from another perspective, if in order to deny information an authority cites a rationale that might appear ludicrous to those needing the information, but the information still gets denied nevertheless, the joke is at the expense of those seeking and needing the information.

      Frankly, if some devious minds at work in the machinery that have seen it fit to stall the RTI process find it hilarious that the information has been denied, it would be understandable from their twisted point of view.

      But the remedy as explained above (complaint under Section 18) gives one heart.

    3. DOP&T's CPIO quotes RTI Act that he is entitled to provide information in his custody. Forgot Sec 6 (3) enjoins on him to transfer with 5 days of receipt of application to the Public Authority that might have the information.

      First Appeal filed online.

    4. maker for a change and how wonderful to read a blog that builds a full picture incorporating even contrarian views when they are pertinent to the main subject.

      As for endorsing levity at the less than funny attempts of TRIPAS to raise roadblocks, we might as well find a pain in the neck as an appropriate source of humor.

      I am reminded of a "Nothing to LOL about" blog post about misplaced mirth, relating to another sort of pain in the neck.

    5. Being informed is the Best Weapon

  7. Sorry, Sir, while posting the comment, I appear to have truncated it inadvertently. As far as I can recall, the comment was by way of reply to @Maj Navdeep to let him know it was wonderful to see him as a comment maker (on this blog) for a change.