STATE OF TRIPURA Vs. RANA PRATAP NATH BHOWMIK
LAWS(TRIP)-2021-3-30
HIGH COURT TRIPURA
Decided on March 16,2021

STATE OF TRIPURA Appellant
VERSUS
Rana Pratap Nath Bhowmik Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Akil Kureshi, J. - (1.) This petition is filed by the State Government to challenge an order dated 5th December, 2016 passed by the State Chief Information Commissioner directing to supply an audit report to the original information seeker under Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereinafter for short 'RTI Act').
(2.) Brief facts are that the respondent herein who was an employee of Tripura State Rifles(TSR), was facing a departmental inquiry. He had moved an application before the authorities for supplying him certain documents under RTI Act by filing application in proper proforma on 18th August, 2016. Out of 4 documents he had asked for, he was suitably replied in relation to 3 documents and it is, therefore, not necessary for us to note his demand for these 3 documents. However, the 4th document which is at the centre of controversy and which the respondent wanted copy of was as under : '1. Supply the copies of internal 'Audit Report' conducted in the 8th Bn. TSR, by the different audit team headed by Sri Khatrajoy Reang, IPS and Sri K B Das, IPS. For the period from 2012-2014, 2015 and 2016 of Sri Dilip Debbarma, Commandant, 8th Bn. TSR.'
(3.) Since the competent authority did not provide this document despite the respondent having paid the requisite fees, he preferred appeal before the State Chief Information Commissioner. Such appeal was decided on 5th December, 2016 in following manner : '7. Insofar as item no.l of the information sought by Shri Rana Pratap Nath Bhowmik is related to the audit report of the 8th Battalion TSR covering the period of incumbency of Shri Dilip Debbarma as Commandant, 8th Battalion TSR. The SPIO told during hearing that there is only one audit report which is now seized by the I.O. of the case with reference to the FIR. However, there is a copy available with him and since the SPIO had earlier demanded additional money of Rs.96/- for supply of the information, he cannot plead otherwise now. The arguments of the SPIO that it would impede the process of investigation and apprehension of the culprit is not tenable as the audit report has nothing to do with the investigation process as the information seeker did not ask inquiry report or matters connected to the investigation. 8. The Commission, after going through the fact of the case, comes to the conclusion that the supply of copy of audit report is in no way connected with the progress of the investigation nor apprehension of the culprit as the information seeker (the complainant in this case) is not asking investigation report of the Inquiring Officer nor the statements recorded by him but the audit report of that period. Hence, the Commission directs that copy of audit report be supplied to the complainant within 20(twenty) days from the date of this order free of cost as the period of one month has already passed. 9. Copy of this order should be sent to the complainant and the Commandant, 8th Bn.TSR and SPIO.' ;


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