In 10 years, the CIC has imposed a penalty on 1,071 officers under the RTI Act
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the between 2005 and 2015, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has imposed a penalty on 1,071 officers for delay in providing information beyond the mandatory 30 days or giving incorrect / incomplete information.
The Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act says that “Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or, obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees.”
Readers may also refer to the study done by this site in 2012 “An analysis of the orders of the CIC : RTI Study 2” which found that out of the 2165 orders of the CIC passed in the month of July 2012, the CIC imposed penalty on the PIO / deemed PIO in just four cases. In three cases, the penalty was imposed by Smt. Deepak Sandhu while it was imposed by Shri Basant Seth in one case. The maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- each was imposed in two cases while in one case it was divided into four equal parts of Rs. 6,250 each on four PIOs. Further, in one case, a penalty of Rs. 10,000/- was imposed on the PIO. In terms of the total number of orders passed in the month of July, penalty was imposed in less than 0.2% cases by the CIC. Refer to the link - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/analysis-orders-cic-rti-study-2-2197#.VRQ4u_yUe1U
Under the scheme of ‘Improving transparency and accountability in governance through effective implementation of RTI Act’, the centre had spent Rs 793.88 lakh in 2010-11 for generating awareness on RTI. Rs 1826.40 lakh, 1481.60 lakh and Rs 1801.06 were spent were spent in 2011-12, in 2012-13 and in 2013-14 respectively for spreading awareness regarding RTI. For spreading awareness, workshops, mass media campaigns, publication of guidebooks, online certificate course, RTI celebration week, innovative awareness generation and training of Central Public Information Officers, State Public Information Officers and the First Appellate Authorities of different departments has been done.
There are more than 38,000 second appeals currently pending with the CIC. Activists have criticised the Information Commissions for being lenient and not taking a strict view regarding imposition of penalty.