CIC fines CPIO of Trade Marks Registry Rs. 25,000

One of our readers recently sent us a decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC) in the case of Shri Kamal Kishore Arora v. the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Trade Marks Registry. The case is available for download over here.

The Appellants in this case are practicing advocates who had filed applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005 with the Trade Marks Registry requesting for information pertaining to two trademarks. The CPIO had failed to reply to these applications within the statutory deadline of 30 days. As a result Mr. Kamal Kishore Arora filed appeals with the Central Information Commission (CIC).

After giving the CPIO an opportunity to be heard the CIC noted that although the CPIO had claimed to have replied to the appellants, she had failed to produce any evidence to this effect. As a result the CIC fined the CPIO Rs 25,000 for a delay of more than 100 days in replying to the Appellants.

Such decisions are welcome and come as a huge relief to those of us who have had to deal with the cavalier attitude of the bureaucracy towards the RTI Act.

H/T: Devanshu Jain

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15 thoughts on “CIC fines CPIO of Trade Marks Registry Rs. 25,000”

  1. Kudos to Mr. Arora. It is rather seldom that a practicing advocate files a complaint in his personal name against the officer where one appears frequently. At the same time it is important to note that the TRI applications are not given due attention they deserve and are not replied at all. In this case it is not known as to whether it was actually replied as the PIO was not able to show any proof which should not be a problem if that was actually sent.
    The classical thing is that the First Appellate Authority is also not able to do anything and seems hand in glove with the PIO of the Trade Marks Office. It may be of interest to the readers and I have come across the orders, that the First Appellate Authority disposes off the First Appeal by stating that he had spoken to the PIO and that he has been informed that on account of the PIO being busy in some administrative work was not able to give the information called for in the RTI application and that he has asked the PIO to give the information called for. A copy of the said order is sent to the PIO by name.
    Another classical thing that even after the said order of the First Appellate Authority which in a sense has extended the time of giving the information called for, still the information is not supplied, though having received the said order of the First Appellate Authority by name.
    Only if these kinds of orders are passed that the purpose of RTI applications would have some sense.

  2. I hear that the said First Appellate Authority who had passed the said order as stated by anonymous 7.43 am is now sitting as a technical member (patent) of IPAB. What a joke

  3. Another thing heard is that the earlier First Appellate Authority used to dispose of the first appeals against the CPIO by stating that the appellant should contact the technical head instead of filing the First Appeal. The question arises is If the technical head was of any help, would there have been any need for filing of the RTI application at all? I DO NOT THINK THAT THE APPELLANT WOULD HAVE JUST FILED THE RTI APPLICATION OR THE FIRST APPEAL without contacting the technical head.

  4. It seems readers are not interested in your blogs. There are only three comments on the present blog which is of so much importance particularly these days of Anna Hazare and the move that the responsibilities and the time frame be fixed for the officials for doing the job.

  5. Dear Anon:

    I’m not sure if we should be judging the interest of readers based on the number of comments. I know a number of readers who value these posts but prefer not to comment. And i would at least personally prefer that readers only comment when they have something worthwhile to add to the debate–and that is precisely what this blog is about. It is not a popularity contest, but a means to get deep and meaningful debates around IP law and policy. Hope you appreciate.

  6. I happen to see the order passed by CIC. It is revealed that there were two RTI applications and consequently two appeals. The CIC has imposed the fine of Rs.25000/- which is maximum penalty imposable for one RTI application. CIC could have imposed maximum fine of Rs.25000/- each case. CPIO seems to be lucky.
    One more thing. The file in respect of one of the applications of the appellant have been seen by me which is digitized. It is revealed that the First Appellate Authority in the said RTI application has disposed off the appeal by stating that the CPIO was not able to give the reply due to administrative reasons and has been directed to give the information called for within a week. There is endorsement at the end which states that the copy of the order was being sent to the CPIO by name and further she has been asked to explain the reason for not giving the information within time and non compliance may attract the provision of penalty Under Section 20(1) of the Act. To my mind this is blowing hot and cold in the same breath. On the one hand the appellate authority has stated the reason to the RTI applicant of not being able to give the reply to RTI application, at the same time in the same order, he is asking for giving the reasons to him by the CPIO.
    This very appellate authority is now the technical member of Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

  7. It has been learnt that the CPIO has filed a writ petition against the said order of CIC imposing the fine of Rs.25000/- which is listed before HMJ Rajeev Sahai Endlaw in supplementary list on 5th October, 2011. The CPIO is of the opinion that she is not bound to give any information to an advocate. According to her the advocates are not entitled to the information under the RTI Act and in any case the informations are available online at the website of the Trade Marks Department.

  8. The court stayed the opeation of the order of CIC and now the date fixed is 08/02/2012.
    In another matter the CIC has recommended the disciplinary action against the same CPIO under Section 20(2) of RTI Act to be initiated by Controller General, Mumbai.

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