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CIC Directed National Women Commission To Discharge Duty In RTI Appeal

NCW NOT UPDATED WEBSITE AS PER RTI ACT 2005

New Delhi : National commission of women got direction from central information commission to act on women sexual harassment complaint and provide all information to her. The NCW has holding the complaint due to corporate pressure and failed to discharge duty and responsibility as per directions of law. Now a days highly qualified women are facing sexual harassment in top corporate and regulators are ignoring complaints due to hand in the gloves.
CIC obeserved that the NCW did not following section 4 of RTI act 2005 and not updating website as per RTI act 2005. The decision making process, minutes of meeting and decisions are
supposed to be voluntarily disclosed by the public authority as per
Section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act on their own and this has to be updated
from time to time. Surprisingly, this NCW does not host any
information about minutes and refuse such information when asked
under RTI by the citizen. This is blatant violation of RTI Act. The FAA
has illegally supported the decision of CPIO.
After this CIC M. Sridhar Acharyulu order NCW updated their website as per RTI ACT 2005


Download ORDER



CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721
Minakshi v. PIO, National Commission for Women
Order Sheet: RTI filed on 06.11.2017, CPIO replied on 14.12.2017, FAO on 08.01.2018, Second
appeal filing date -Nil, Hearing on 30.05.2018;
Proceedings on 30.05.2018: Appellant absent, Public Authority represented by CPIO. Mr
Ravindra Singh and former CPIO Ms. K. Lalitha.
Date of Decision – 08.06.2018: Directions issued – POSTED TO 04-07-2018 AT 2.30 PM
ORDER
FACTS:
1. It is a pathetic case of the NCW that considered complaints to it, its action
on that if any as ‘fiduciary’ information and chose to deny it. The appellant
Ms. Minakshi Maheshwari sought information regarding (i) year wise list of
complaints received by NCW since 01.01.2014 to 31.10.2017 giving the
details as the case no., category of complaints, name of respondentindividual/
private company/Public company, whether a ICC Committee
constituted with outside experts, no. of hearings held, current status i.e.
whether it is open/closed/in litigation in any court and if in litigation the
details of the case no. in the Court, type, status etc. (ii) Minutes of
meeting of NCW Board and Chairperson since June 2014 to date. (iii)
Annual report of the NCW since 2014 (iv) tour details of the Chairperson
and Board members since January 2013. The CPIO replied on 04.12.2017
stating that the information sought is available on the site and further
details are fiduciary in nature and hence cannot be provided acc. to sec
8(1)(e) and for the tour details the CPIO replied that the information is
not form of any document and compilation of the same will be voluminous
without apparently fulfilling any public interest. The appellant filed first
appeal on 14.12.2017 stating that the similar information for the year
2010-2014 have been provided to her by the earlier CPIO through RTI and
the websites so mentioned by the CPIO doesn’t open. The FAA upheld the
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 2
decision of the CPIO. The appellant filed the second appeal before the
Commission on the ground of receipt of incomplete information.
Grounds of Second Appeal:
1. In her second appeal, she stated: “… a reply was received on
December 14, 2017 which is incomplete, vague and dissatisfactory.
Hence, I filed the First Appeal on December 14, 2017 itself. In the First
Appeal, I have made a detailed table clearly explaining the ground for
appeal and that the reply is not correct and not sustainable. However,
without holding any hearing/ issuing any intimation, the FAA on
January 8, 2016 passed an order endorsing the CPIO’s reply.
2. The National Commission Women has to hear cases of complaints, give
necessary directions to authorities, etc and secure the rights of
women. This information is not given to NCW by anybody. It is
generated in NCW because of the complaints filed before it and that it
has a legal duty to consider those complaints. Fiduciary question does
not arise at all. It is the duty of the NCW to say what it is doing. It is
the right of not only the complainant but also of every person to know
what action was taken by the NCW on the complaint. The Supreme
Court, High Courts and Police Stations also reveal what cases were
filed and what happened along with date of hearing, names of the
parties and their advocates along with full text of judgment. Is this
fiduciary related information and people should not ask for it. The
following is the table of information sought, given and grounds for
second appeal:
Info sought Reply of NCW Ground for appeal
1. Year - wise list of
complaints received by NCW
since January 1, 2014 till
October 31, 2017 giving the
following details / fields :
 Year
 Case no.
 Category of complaint
 Name of respondent
individual / Pvt Company /
Public authority
 Whether a Committee
constituted with outside
experts - Yes/ NO
 No. of hearings held
The information sought for
is available on the website
of National Commission for
Women i.e.
www.ncw.nic.in.
Regarding the further
details it is stated that the
information
available is fiduciary in
nature and hence cannot
be provided
in terms of Section 8 (1)
(e) of
the RTI Act, 2005.
There is no information available in
the form that I have requested.
Similar information and same
format has been provided earlier
by NCW – CPIO in June 2014 under
RTI application by me for the
precedent 5 years i,e 2010 – 2014.
This data is part of their MIS and
other reporting and hence, it is not
clear why the current CPIO is
unwilling to provide the same.
Since, NCW has put out
newspapers advertisements in
leading news papers and have
asked women to complaint and
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 3
 Current status - Open/
Closed/ in litigation in any
Court
 If in litigation, details of
the case no. in the Court,
Type, status, name of
advocate
representing NCW.
speak up and also the Ministry
has said that they will put up data
for better governance, It is
important to know what are the
complaints received and by
them giving the complaint no.
date, type/ category, no. of
hearings and status and whether in
litigation.
It is important to know what the
final outcome of the complaints is
and performance of the Complaints
cell and NCW has a constitutional
body.
This cannot be denied as earlier it
has been given to me and also
others.
Similar data is also provided by
Police in terms of FIR registered
by them. So, NCW cannot deny
this.
There is no link that gives the
information that is desired.
2. Minutes of meeting of
NCW Board and Chairperson
since
June 2014 to date
[please note that in case of
CIC these are uploaded on
the

The information is
available on
the website of National
Commission for Women

The link does not open. The screen
shot of error message is as under.
This site can’t be reached
10.25.192.170 took too long to
respond. Even in the earlier
(unresponded RTI dated October
19, 2016) which is also part of
the HC proceedings in wp
5892/2015, I had been seeking
minutes of the Board meeting in
which the Fact Finding report of
Chatwal Committee dated April
7, 2016 was placed. But till date
they have not provided it. I had
also written a letter to the CPIO
who is the legal officer also dated
which is annexed but she
has not cared to revert.
Instead she advised that I can seek
the minutes under RTI and now
she has failed to provide it
giving a URL link which does not
work.
So, the information can be easily
downloaded and can be provided.
It is also a permanent
record of all important decisions
and resolutions.
3. Annual report of the NCW
since 2014 to date not
uploaded. If uploaded,
please provide the link and if
not uploaded, please upload.
The information is
available on the website of
National
Commission for Women
i.e.
http://ncw.nic.in/frmPubRe
port.aspx
The same is now accessible
under the URL
http://ncw.nic.in/pdfReports/An
nual_Report_2015-
16_English_Full.pdf
and likewise for earlier years.
4. Tour details of the
Chairperson and Board
members since
January 2013 till date.
[in most of the public
authorities, these are part of
the voluntary disclosures
such as

The information is not form
of any document and
compilation of the same
will be voluminous without
apparently fulfilling any
public interest.
Every public officer is required to
submit a tour report and claim
expenses and track it.
It is not clear what is fiduciary
and that it does not serve public4
interest.
As per Chapter V, section 15 of
NCW Act, 1990 it is stated that
“ Chairperson, Members and Staff
of the Commission to be
public servants.—The
Chairperson, the Members,
officers and other employees of the
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 4
Commission shall be deemed to be
public servants within the meaning
of section 21 of the Indian Penal
Code (45 of 1860)”.
I have also given the link to the
CIC site as regards details
submitted by Information
Commissioners.
3. Appellant alleged that she was “harassed as NCW acting CP – Nirmala
Samant Prabhavalkar conducted an inquiry in Mumbai office of State
Women Commission and said that she is responsible for State of
Maharashtra. She travelled at cost of NCW for such hearings. As per
the Chatwal Committee report initiated pursuant to the order of CIC
dated June 12, 2015 under my complaint u/s 18 of RTI Act dated May
2015 in second appeal no. 332/ 2014, she was held responsible for
loss of documents. In this case also, no action has been taken against
her by NCW and as per the affidavit submitted by CPIO of NCW in July
2015. She conducted a hearing in Mumbai office of State Commission
on a holiday i.e 4th Saturday and what transpired at hearing is only
known to her. The minutes were made by her 6 months later for
submission in the High Court of Mumbai on March 25, 2014 and which
are also under question as regards the validity. I would like to see the
tour report of the members and also including that of Mrs. Nirmala
Samant Prabhavalkar. I am sure it is available and maintained by their
respective admin department. She was asked to resign just before the
CIC hearing on December 30, 2014 in appeal no. 332/ 2014 (Minakshi
vs. NCW)”.
4. Appellant further submitted: It is known to the CPIO being also the
legal officer that in the writ petition filed by me in Delhi High Court
5892/2015, pursuant to the notice issued to both Women & Child
Ministry and National Commission for Women, NCW set up a Fact
Finding Committee under Mr. O.P. Chatwal (ex-DIG, CBI) in which
it had also dealt with my RTI dated December 2 and 11, 2013. In this
RTI also, I had sought information as regards the cases filed in NCW.
Through a reply dated July 2014, NCW had send me a detailed reply
showing the case no. and other particulars under each category and for
each of the years for which information was requested. Hence, there is
no reason as to why it is denied now on the pretext that it is available
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 5
on the website whereas it is not available and then URL link does not
display anything. It is presumed that the level of transparency is
higher than it was in 2014 but such a vague reply is disappointing. The
annual report only has the statistical information of total number of
cases but not the manner in which it is sought giving case no,
category, number of hearings, status etc in the same manner as was
given to me under RTI dated December 2013 which was subject matter
of the Fact Finding Committee and hence, the legal officer and CIC is
fully aware and is on the record and file of NCW. This is the third
appeal that has been filed in 2017 as regards the functioning in NCW.
The other 2 hearings are scheduled for January 31, 2018 in appeal no.
CIC/MOWCD/A/2018/102543 and CIC/NCFWO/A/2017/607207. There
have been other orders also passing strictures against NCW - CPIO and
also levy of penalty of the earlier FAA - Mr. Raju in another case i.e
CIC/NCFWO/A/2017/135800.
5. She further submitted: There is a repeated abuse of my right and such
disregard has continued despite the earlier warnings in order dated
December 30, 2014 in second appeal 332/ 2014 and adjunct to order
dated March 28, 2016 in Adjunct to Decision No.
CIC/MP/A/2015/001472 . Such harassment and violation of a citizen's
right is evident. The CPIO is an advocate and well versed with the law
and legislation. In another matter before Maharashtra State
Information Commission as regards the details of cases registered by
cyber police station in last 3 years, it was provided after order dated
November 7, 2017 in complaint to SIC and I was also allowed
inspection of the crime register. I pray for strict action against the
CPIO and also penalty to levied and compensation for trauma and
harassment being caused to be repeatedly by NCW. Such has been
NCW’s disregard to orders of the Court and also CIC not only in this
case but even others. The grounds are as stated in First Appeal. I seek
exemplary penalty to be imposed for such disregard and abuse by the
WCD despite a detailed First Appeal. I request for compensation for the
harassment and trauma caused to me by denial of information despite
warnings in earlier orders and stricture passed against the NCW CPIO
and FAA. I also request for penalty to be levied for such deliberate
delays and replies without any application of mind in gross negligence
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 6
of duty and in abuse of the mandate of the NCW to ensure that rights
of women are upheld.
6. Mr. Ravinder Singh, CPIO and Ms. K. Lalita, former CPIO submitted
that the information regarding status of complaints and appeals before
NCW for the period 2014-17 is voluminous an is not available in
complied form. The officers further stated that the total no. of category
wise cases pending and disposed off before the NCW is available at
their official web-site and the extract of the same has been supplied to
the appellant.
Analysis
7. It is unthinkable and devoid of reason that the National Commission
Women contends that the information about complaints, name of
respondent/organization, number of hearings and current status of
litigation if any is information given to NCW is in fiduciary capacity and
hence they cannot disclose it. If that is the case entire activity of NCW
is in fiduciary, which according to it means top secret and cannot be
shared with the people. This is absurd and deliberate denial of
information. Another wonderful absurdity is that this illegal reply was
confirmed by the First Appellate Authority. If the higher authorities
above two these officers have approved this reply, it will be a great
tragedy.
8. The decision making process, minutes of meeting and decisions are
supposed to be voluntarily disclosed by the public authority as per
Section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act on their own and this has to be updated
from time to time. Surprisingly, this NCW does not host any
information about minutes and refuse such information when asked
under RTI by the citizen. This is blatant violation of RTI Act. The FAA
has illegally supported the decision of CPIO.
9. Availability of information on website is no defence to deny the
information. There are access problems with the website loaded
information. It may not open at a particular point, and the complainant
may not be in a position to have access because of inability, absence
of power and absence of required band width or server problem.
Website cannot answer the applicant’s requirement of certified copy.
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 7
The CPIO has a duty to furnish information through certified copy. If
annual reports are priced publications, the CPIO can ask for the price
and send it to the RTI applicant. If not he could give at a cost of Rs 2
per page. Simply intimating applicant that website contains information
sought amounts to insufficient or incomplete information and it is
denial. Both CPIO and FAA did not apply their mind to this aspect also.
Sad.
10. On perusal of records submitted by the CPIO and browsing of the
official web-site the Commission finds that the web-site is short of
relevant records and data that supposed to reflect the core functioning
of NCW. The sou-moto disclosures on their website as per Sec. 4(1)(b)
of RTI act is totally insufficient. Instead of giving specific & detailed
information regarding 17 categories mentioned in Sec. 4(1)(b) they
have simply furnished the bare Act, rules and regulations. Details of
employees were not made available. There is no mention of the powers
and duties of each & every office with name & designation. It doesn’t
convey any information to the viewer as to who will perform what
functions and on what basis. Similarly, the categories of documents
are also too general, nothing is specific. The most important aspect i.e.
the Minutes of Boards, Counsel Committees & other bodies were not
provided. There are no FAQ’s. The Public Authority must have provided
the detailed procedure for filing the RTI offline in the same manner as
they have provided for online. A practical guide to filing a complaint &
the follow up mechanism along with possibilities of knowing the status
of the investigation & action taken from time to time should have been
provided. Thus NCW is Section 4(1) non-compliant, which means
continuous breach of RTI Act since 2006.
11. The National Commission for Women is a public authority to deal with
the complaints about Bigamy/Polygamy, Cyber Crime, Dowry
harassment/ dowry death, Free Legal Aid, Gender Discrimination
including equal right to education & work, Indecent Representation of
Women, Outraging Modesty, Police Apathy against Women, Privacy
and Rights, Reproductive health rights, Right to Exercise Choice in
marriage, Right to live with dignity, Sex selective abortion / female
foeticide / amniocentesis, Sexual harassment including sexual
harassment at workplace, Stalking / Voyeurism, Traditional practices
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 8
derogatory to women rights, i.e. sati pratha, devdasi pratha, witch
hunting, Trafficking / Prostitution of women, Violence, Women's right
of custody of children in the event of divorce, etc. The Commission
functions for the disposal of such complaints after hearing the parties
involved. Therefore, it has a duty and a statutory obligation to disclose
details regarding its functioning, daily proceedings and
orders/directions issued in every case of complaint involving the rights
of women, in the public domain.
12. The National Commission for Women is expected to tell the people in
general what it was doing on complaints and what action resulted. The
NCW cannot deny the information what High Court or Supreme Court
or Tribunals or quasi-judicial bodies are giving. Each and every order
given by the Commissions are available on their websites. The NCW
has to mind especially the following categories of information to be
disclosed under Section 4(1)(b):
i. the powers and duties of its officers and employees;
ii. the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of
supervision and accountability;
iii. the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;
iv. the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its
control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;
v. ….
vi. the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation
by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or
implementation thereof;
vii. a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two
or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to
whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open
to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public;
13. The information sought by the appellant falls under the above
categories and hence cannot be denied. Section 4(1)(c) and (d)
impose the duty of the public authority to explain the policies and
reasons for the decisions.
c) publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the
decisions which affect public;
d) provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected
persons.
14. Every administrative direction and decision in every quasi-judicial
proceeding need to be disclosed. The NCW is refusing to give
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 9
information about their minutes and decisions. They have converted
their hearings, directions and actions into some numbers and giving
that as the information. The NCW devised a mechanism of giving
statistics and not the required information. Ambiguous statistics do not
amount to denial. All these years the NCW lost the opportunity of
telling the people that they have effectively resolved problems (if any)
and grievances of the women who approached them, by not reporting
them. Its most unfortunate that law-knowing officers consider that
such information is ‘fiduciary’ and thus ‘secret’. If a case is filed in
Supreme Court, the complainant and others get to know what the
decision was, but not in NCW. Section 10 of National Commission for
Women Act, 1990 deals with Functions of the Commission saying.—(1)
The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, and
they are the questions the NCW has to answer voluntarily. The
questions based on Section 10 are:
(a) Did NCW investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for
women under the Constitution and other law?;
(b) Did NCW present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the
Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards?;
(c) Did NCW make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of
those safeguards for improving the conditions of women by the Union or any State?;
(d) Did NCW review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution and
other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest
remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such
legislations?;
(e) Did NCW take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of
other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities?;
(f) Did NCW look into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to—
(i) deprivation of women’s rights?;
(ii) non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and also to
achieve the objective of equality and development?;
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 10
(iii) non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating
hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women, and take up the
issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities?;
(g) Did NCW call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations
arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women and identify the constraints so
as to recommend strategies for their removal?;
(h) Did NCW undertake promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of
ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for
impeding their advancement, such as, lack of access to housing and basic services,
inadequate support services and technologies for reducing drudgery and occupational
health hazards and for increasing their productivity?;
(i) Did NCW participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic
development of women?;
(j) Did NCW evaluate the progress of the development of women under the Union and
any State?;
(k) Did NCW inspect or cause to be inspected a jail, remand home, women’s institution or
other place of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise, and take up
with the concerned authorities for remedial action, if found necessary?;
(l) Did NCW fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women?;
(m) Did NCW make periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to
women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil?;
15. Their website should contain the report of activities on each of the
above question which is based on the clauses under Section 10.
16. The CPIO denied even the annual reports, tour details, which is illegal
and not acceptable. NCW has to immediately initiate the required
mechanism for maintenance of the orders, directions, passed in every
case. Except the names of the victims of sexual assaults every other
details need to be disclosed so that vulnerable sections would find
reassurance at the Commission and accused-respondents would be
deterred from repeating the offences, as the NCW will not spare them.
The complaints by victims of sexual assaults and harassment could be
mentioned as Ms X, and victim children of trafficking could be
CIC/NWCOM/A/2018/610721 Page 11
mentioned as Child x. The reports of mediation facilitated by NCW in
matrimonial disputes if any need not be reported, except the brief
result whether successful.
17. The Commission recommends NCW to give information on every
complaint/representation made to it, its action, hearing,
decision/direction from January 1, 2014 till October 31, 2017 as sought
within a month and make it a regular disclosure policy in the
format suggested by appellant for all the remaining years within two
months and update it every week or fortnight or month as per their
convenience.
18. The Commission directs all the tour details of the Chairpersons and
members as sought be disclosed to appellant, and hereafter, keep such
information on the official website regularly. The Commission directs
the CPIO to report the compliance of orders of the CIC in earlier
appeals of this appellant referred above.
19. The Commission directs the CPIO Ms K. Lalitha to show cause why
maximum penalty should not be imposed against her for denying the
information illegally and directs the First Appellate Authority Mr. R C
Ahuja, to explain why he has confirmed the order of the CPIO
without applying mind.
20. The Commission directs the public authority to explain why it should
not be directed to pay compensation to the appellant, as she was
harassed and denied the information which NCW should have given on
its own.
21. All the responses shall reach by July 4, 2018 and the case is posted
for compliance and penalty at 2.30 at July 4, 2018.
SD/-
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Central Information Commissioner

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