CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION (Room No.315, B­Wing, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi 110 066)

File No.CIC/SA/A/2014/000576

     Appellant 

:

Respondent

:

Sh. S.P.Manchanda

SDM(HQ­II)

GNCTD, Delhi

Date of hearing

:

24­12­2014

Date of decision

:

09­01­2015

  Information Commissioner :

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu (Madabhushi Sridhar)

  Referred Sections Result

:

Sections 19(3) of the Act :

Appeal Allowed/disposed of

Observation:   One of the Best RTI Applications

             The appellant is present.   The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Lalit Mohan,  SDM(HQ), Mr. MPS Rawat, NT. 

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FACTS:

2.   The Appellant through his RTI application dated 28.08.2013 had sought information with  respect to his representation dated 10.08.2013 which was sent to Hon’ble C.M – How to curb  black money in property transactions and prevent corruption Viz i) Date of reciept of his  representation by the office ii) status of its progress iii) Detail of the Official who handled the  representation and the action taken by them iv) If No action, then the reason for the same,  etc.  

3.  PIO vide his letter dated 23.09.2013 requested the appellant to meet the PIO and discuss  the matter.   4.  Being unsatisfied with the information furnished, the appellant preferred First Appeal.   5.   FAA  by  his  Order  dated  03.01.2014  directed  the  SDM­II  to provide  fresh  reply  to the  appellant.   6.  In Complaince of FAA Order, PIO requested the appellant to visit the office for discussing  the matter.  7.     Being   unsatisfied   with   the   information   furnished,   the   appellant   has   approached   the  Commission in Second Appeal.

DECISION

         8.     Both the parties made their submissions.  The appellant submitted that he had made a  complaint dated 10­8­2013 addressed to the Chief Minister of Delhi regarding the corruption 

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and the black money being generated in the under­valuation of the properties in Delhi and  loss of revenue to the Government.  The Government has kept uniform circle rates all over  Delhi, irrespective of the area, with the result the area in which the appellant  is living, Kesav  Puram,   the   market   rate   of   an   MIG   Flat   is   Rs.1,40,00,000/­   whereas   the   stamp   duty   is  collected on the basis of circle rates, i.e. Rs.40,00,000/­ thereby losing the stamp duty on the  value of Rs. One crore.  Similarly, in Narela, the value of a flat is just Rs.15 lakhs, but the  Circle rate is as high as   Rs.37 lakhs, on which the stamp duty is assessed.   Hence in  Narela, there are no buyers for the flats.   

9.    On the other hand, the respondent officer, Mr. Lalit Mohan, SDM(Hq) submitted that the  appellant’s complaint contained allegations on the undervaluation of the properties in Delhi.  The  Government   has  constituted  a  Committee  namely,   Committee  on  Revision  of   Circle  Rates­2014,  and his representation  was  placed before  that  Committee.    The  respondent  officer also admitted the anomaly pointed out by the appellant regarding the circle rates and  submitted that the Government may soon set right this anomaly.   Section 27 of the Indian  Stamps Act deals with the undervaluation of the properties.   A new section 47A has been  inserted on 23­9­2014 by amending the said Act, by which the Collector of Stamps has the  power to assess the real value of the property, when the document is referred to him and  enhance the same, if he considers there is undervaluation.  

10. The Commission finds this RTI application is one of the best in the interest of fulfilling the  objectives of the Right to Information Act. The Commision also found a relief after hearing  plethora of misused RTI appeals filed  by disgruntled employees or those facing disciplinary  actions or caught red handed taking bribe, or facing challenge from wives for their cruelty.  Most   of   these   are  guided   by  self   interest   or   private  grudge  or   motivated   by   revenge   or  intended to harass and never with any public interest.  A simple and ordinary person, Mr S P 

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Manchanda is in fact, not seeking any information from the public authority but making a very  constructive suggestion after pointing out how much of revenue the Government was loosing  every day because of the indifference and delay in developing a rational valuation of land  policy. 

11.   This RTI application is in its own way a small but effective suggestion to curb growth of  black   money   and   increase   the   state   revenue   with   somany   positive   effects.   He   has  approached the Chief Minister of Delhi with suggestion to curb black money and prevent  corruption in property transactions  in  Delhi.  He  wanted to know  the action  taken on his  representation. As usual the PIO gave some lifeless, routine reply saying you have just made  a suggestion and did not ask for any information. Then advised him to come and inspect the  files.  The appellant called it vague and incomplete. In spite of the specific direction by the  first   appellate   authority,   information   was   not   provided.   In   second   appeal   he   sought   a  thorough   enquiry   against   concealing   of   information,   which   he   alleges   to   be   mala   fide.  Appellant expressed disgust at the way he was made to take several trips to the offices in  futility.   He   also   sought   costs   for   causing   him   mental   agony   and   penalty   for   denial   of  information. 

12.        The appellant  suggested how  futile  to decide  uniform circle rates  for  entire Delhi  without distinguishing the high value at one place and low value at another center. He gave  examples how the state was losing lots of revenue every day which also generate huge black  money.     The  PIO  who  was  present  at   the  hearing  appeared  responsive  and  completely  agreed with agonised presentation of the appellant. 

13.       The   Commission   finds   in  many   cases   before  it   that   several   public   authorities   are  escaping   accountability   under   RTI   by   showing   value   of   the   land   given   to   them   by   the 

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Government as ‘commercial value’ which is an open lie as every one knows the real value  would be thousand times more than what it was shown to be. Several hospitals, sports clubs,  Cricket Associations etc are claiming the land wasgiven to them at commercial rate, simply  because the state does not have any document to say that they have properly assessed the  value of the land in a particular area. Because of this every selfish person or profit motivated  corporate body is trying to take prime government land using the corruption as an easy tool  and making huge profits at the cost of public exhequer and imposing burden on common  consumers. All this is facilitated by the absence of minimum governance at the higher level  where the powers that be prefer to relax and refuse to decide what is value of the land. 

14.      The Commission exercising its powers under Section 19(8)(a) require the top officer of  the public authority, Chief Secretary of Government of Delhi, to take a serious look into the  highly significant suggestions to decide the circle rates of land value in Delhi and for that  initiate  inquiry  or if  any  inquiry  is already ordered  as informed  by  the  PIO, expedite  the  proceedings of that inquiry.    15.     The Commisison directs the respondent authority to provide a copy of the report of the  Committee on revision of Circle rates,to the appellant, and also upload the same on the Web  site,   as   and   when   report   is   ready.     The   appeal   is  disposed  of   accordingly   with   above  observations. The registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the Chief Secretary and  the Administrator of Delhi.  

(M.Sridhar Acharyulu) Information Commisisoner      Authenticated true copy

CIC/SA/A/2014/000576

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(Babu Lal) Deputy Registrar

Addresses of the parties:

1. The Central Public Information  Officer under RTI Act Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Department of Revenue, SDM(HQ­II).  5­Sham Nath Marg, Delhi

2. Shri S.P.Manchanda C­2/35, Keshav Puram Delhi­110035

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CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

without distinguishing the high value at one place and low value at another center. He gave examples how the state was losing lots of revenue every day which ...

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