Facts arising from the Complaint:
It has been brought to the notice of the Commission vide four Complaints filed by Mr. Rajiv Kumar that the Department was not meeting certain obligations under the PDS Control Order. According to PDS Control Order 2001, it is the duty of every Fair Price shopkeeper to “display information on a notice at a prominent place in the Fair Price shop on a daily basis regarding a) list of BPL and Antodaya beneficiaries, b) entitlements of essential commodities, c) scale of issue, d) retail issue prices, e) timings of opening and closing of Fair Price shops, f) stock of essential commodities received during the month, g) opening and closing stock of essential commodities and h) the name of authorities for redressal of grievances/lodging complaints with respect to quality and quantity of essential commodities under the Public Distribution System.
One of the complaints (Complaint No. CIC/SG/C/2009/001621) state that many of the Fair Price shops especially in circle 63 have not complied with the PDS Control Order 2001 and the disclosures have not been displayed. The information should have been displayed as part of obligations to make suo moto disclosures under Section 4 of the RTI Act.
Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner, called a meeting on 21/12/2009 at the Commission’s office on this matter to discuss issues relating to disclosure of information on the Public Distribution System in Delhi. A notice dated 14/12/2009 was issued to all the Assistant Commissioners & PIOs of the Department and they were directed to attend this meeting. An Agenda of issues that were going to be discussed was enclosed along with the notice and the Assistant Commissioners were informed that appropriate directions will be issued by the Commissioner after giving the PIOs of every district/zone an opportunity to present his opinion.
Facts arising from the hearing held on 21/12/2009:
The following persons were present:
Complainant: Mr. Rajiv Kumar
Respondent: Ms. Jayshree Raghuram, Secretary-cum-Commissioner (F&S); Mr. SS Rathi, Jt. Commissioner; Mr. Kishore, Addl. Commissioner; Mr. Mange Ram, AC (North); Mr. KD Trehan, AC; Mr. Ajay Arora, AC (West); Mr. MK Sharma, AC (South); Mr. GS DHodi, AC (SW); Mr. Subhash Chander, AC (NW); Mr. HP Meena, AC (New Delhi); Mr. Mehresh, Sysyem Analyst; Mr. PP Baruah, Programmer
The Commission informed the Food Commissioner that complaints had been received from some citizen groups particularly Pardarshita, Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Sajha Manch that information should be available suo moto at the Circle Offices and the Fair Price Shops is not available.
The Commission discussed the various issues that were indicated in the Agenda which included information that must be displayed at the Fair Price Shops and the Circle Offices in compliance with the Department’s own orders as well as requirements of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act 2005. After consultation with the Food Commissioner as well as others present, the Commission directs that the following information should be displayed at every Circle Office of the Department:
i) Copy of all ration cards along with photographs of individual card holders in the circle offices of Food and Supply Department.
ii) All citizens should have access to daily sale register, and stock register under suo moto disclosure of RTI Act.
iii) Name and designation of each official in the Circle office along with their stated roles and responsibilities.
iv) Name and contact details of PIO’s and FAA.
v) Procedure to apply for new ration cards and the list of documents required.
vi) Time frame for disposal of various applications (new cards, renewal, change of address etc).
vii) Date of the next Vigilance Committee meeting and names of the members of the Committee.
viii) Rights and privileges of ration card holders as per Section 6(7) of Annexe to PDS Control Order 2001.
ix) List of documents present in the Circle Offices.
The Complainant brought a sample display print of the information that may be displayed outside each Fair Price Shop. Keeping this is view, the Commission directs that the following information will be displayed at the Fair Price Shops under the Department:
i) Entitlement of essential commodities for all types of ration cards.
ii) Scale of issue of each essential commodity for all types of ration cards.
iii) Retail prices of each essential commodity for all types of ration cards.
iv) Working hours of fair price shops.
v) Stock of essential items received during the month.
vi) Opening and closing stock of essential commodities.
vii) Name, designation and contact numbers of officials for redressal of grievances with respect to quality and quantity of essential commodities.
viii) Daily updation of stock position information
ix) Information about inspection of records by any citizen on every Saturday except for second Saturday as per the PDS Control Order dated 15/06/2006.
x) Display of samples of food grains being supplied through fair price shops.
The Food Commissioner has given a commitment to the Commission that she will ensure that the afore-mentioned information will be displayed before 31 January 2010.