The appellate authority under the RTI (Right to Information) Act of the Securities and Exchange Board of India comprising of Mr. Amarjeet Singh adjudicated in the matter of Geeta Khattar v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4360 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 19 (1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Ms Geeta Khattar had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 14th of April, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005, which SEBI received on the 9th of April. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 7th of May, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 7th of May, 2021, on his application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 2nd of July, 2021.
It was noted that under Section 19 (1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, an aggrieved person may prefer the first appeal within thirty days from the receipt of the response from the CPIO of the concerned public authority.
In the instant case, the impugned response from the respondent is dated 7th of May, 2021. The appellant, therefore, should have filed the first appeal on or before expiry of thirty days from the date of receipt of the said response. As noted above, the appellant has filed this first appeal on July 07, 2021 i.e. approximately three weeks after the last date permissible under the RTI Act.
In this appeal, the appellant has neither requested for condonation of delay nor made any submission regarding the reason for the delay. In the absence of any reason that prevented the appellant from filing the first appeal in time, it was considered this appeal as time barred and hence, liable to be dismissed.
Notwithstanding the above observation, appellate authority Mr Baiwar considered the appeal on merit. After having carefully considered the application, the responses and the Appeal, it was found that the matter can be decided based on the material available on record.