Pathanamthitta: A Right to Information request seeking the reason of the howling of neighbour’s dog was settled at the adalat held by State Chief Information Commissioner Vinson M Paul who informed the complainant that the Commission can not issue any directive to make available any information that was not filed in the offices of the Department of Animal Husbandry. The Commissioner was attending the adalat held at Pathanamthitta Collectorate through video-conferencing.
The request was filed by N K Asokan, Lakshmi Bhavan, Mudiyoorkkonam, Panthalam who had sought the reasons for the howling of his neighbour’s dog from Animal Husbandry Department in 2014. Dr Biju Mathew, veterinary surgeon in charge of the Panthalam office of the Department of Animal Husbandry and B S Bindu, Livestock Inspector from whom the report was sought were also present at the adalat. Dr Biju had filed the reply that no information was available in his office regarding the reason for the howling of Asokan’s neighbour’s dog. Asokan had approached the Chief Information Commissioner finding the reply unsatisfactory.
The Chief Information Commissioner informed the complainant that the Right to Information Act specifies to hand over any information stored either in the computers, or files or registers in the office from where the information was sought, and since no information regarding Asokan’s query was found to be in any document in the concerned office, it was not possible to furnish further information regarding the request.
The concerned officials have no responsibility to seek answers for issues that were not part of the records kept in the office. The Commissioner pointed out that the complainant should have tried to seek the answer to the dog’s howling from persons who were more informed in the subject and should have avoided approaching the Information Commission with such issues that would only cause loss of time for the Commission and the concerned officials.