2015(1) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 54
CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, MAHARASHTRA STATE, MUMBAI
R.C. CHAVAN AND DHANRAJ KHAMATKAR, JJ.
B. D. Misal Vs. Pravin Padurang Shinde
First Appeal No. RBT/FA/14/1 in First Appeal No.149 of 2012
9th July, 2014
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. AMIT GHARATE
Consumer Protection Act (1986), S.2 - Right to Information Act (2005), S.6 - Consumer complaint - Maintainability - Complaint filed against an Information Officer for not supplying information sought by complainant - Held, RTI Act provides complete answers to all grievances of complainant - Hence, complaint held not maintainable. (Para 7)
S.N. Subramanya Vs. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike, Rev.Pet./1250/2010, Dt.12.08.2010 [Para 6]
B. Vasudeva Shetty Vs. Kota Co-operative Agricultural Bank Ltd., II(2013) CPJ 4B (NC)(CN) [Para 6]
Mr.Bhikaji Dagdu Misal Vs. Mr.Haribhau Raghunath Kakde, 2014(5) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 41 =FA/A/13/4, Dt.03.04.2014 [Para 7,8]
Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao Vs. Municipal Commissioner, Mysore, Dt.28.05.2009 [Para 7]
2. The Appellant is a Public Information Officer in the department of Technical Education, who is aggrieved by the order passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Pune in Consumer Complaint N o.291/2011, whereby the Forum directed the Appellant to provide necessary information under the Right to Information Act 2005 within six weeks and also to pay compensation of Rs.15,000/- to the Respondent/original Complainant.
The Complainant had filed an application under the R.T.I. with the Appellant Information Officer. The Information Officer seems to have obtained some information from the concerned institution and sought to tender some information to the Complainant which Complainant had not sought. Complainant alleged that the Appellant's Information Officer was ready to provide only unwanted information to the Complainant which had not been sought by the Complainant. Therefore, the Complainant approached the District Forum for a direction to Information Officer to supply information which was sought and compensation of Rs.4,50,000/-.
6. Ld.Advocate for the Appellant submitted that Hon'ble National Commission in Revision Petition No.1250 of 2010. S.N. Subramanya V/s Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike decided on 12th August, 2010 and in Revision Petition No.3636 of 2012, B.Vasudeva Shetty V/s Kota Co-operative Agricultural Bank Ltd, reported in II(2013) CPJ 4B (NC)(CN), held that, "the Consumer complaint would not lie in respect of alleged deficiency in service about failure to obtain information under the R.T.I. Act". In both judgements it has been observed that "R.T.I. Act is a complete Code in itself and provides for an elaborate mechanism of appeal if an applicant under the Act is denied the information to which he is rightfully entitled under the provisions of the Act and that the proper course for the Petitioner was to approached the prescribed Appellate Authority against the alleged action of the respondent." It was observed in B.Vasudeva Shetty V/s Kota Co-operative Agricultural Bank Ltd., that, the consumer complaint would not lie under the Act. The Ld.Counsel for the Appellant, therefore, submitted that the impugned order may be set aside and the complaint as against the Appellant be dismissed.
7. The Respondent/Complainant submitted that this was not a correct finding of law and he has remedies to approach the Consumer Court in respect of deficiency in service. In fact, he pointed out that even this Commission, rather this very bench had held in First Appeal No.A/13/4, Mr.Bhikaji Dagdu Misal V/s. Mr.Haribhau Raghunath Kakde, decided on 03.04.2014 : [2014(5) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 41], that a consumer complaint would lie. We had so held on the basis of a judgement of the National Commission in Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao V/s. Municipal Commissioner, Mysore, decided on 28.05.2009. Now, the Ld.Counsel for the Appellant pointed out that that judgement was rendered in the context of Karnataka Right to Information Act, 2002. He pointed out that in the Karnataka Right to Information Act, there was no provision to compensate the person who sought information, whereas, under the present Right to Information Act, there is a comprehensive provision for compensating the Complainant. He, therefore, submitted that, if, the Complainant has any grievance, he could approach the Appellate Authority under the Right to Information Act, who may provide him with adequate relief. He pointed out that in judgement, Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao V/s. Municipal Commissioner, the National Commission had come to conclude that "the remedy under the Karnataka Act would take care of disciplinary action and penalty against the competent authority in not furnishing the information but no remedy is provided under the said Act to the Applicant seeking information therein if information sought is not provided resulting in deficiency of service". Since the Right to Information Act provides the complete answer to all the grievances of the Respondent/Complainant and since the judgement in the case of Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao V/s. Municipal Commissioner would not be applied to the present situation where the provisions of Right to Information Act 2005 are applicable, the District Forum could not have allowed the Respondent's consumer complaint.
8. We, therefore, hold accordingly and clarify that we were wrong in deciding First Appeal No.A/13/4, Mr.Bhikaji Dagdu Misal V/s. Mr.Haribhau Raghunath Kakde, on 3rd April, 2014 : [2014(5) ALL MR (JOURNAL) 41]. The appeal is therefore allowed. Impugned order is set aside and consumer complaint is dismissed.