Can a “token” penalty be imposed on the PIO under the RTI Act?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) seeking some information. The Public Information Officer (PIO) did not provide any response to the appellant. On the directions of the Central Information Commission (CIC), the PIO provided a response to the RTI application. The Commission also issued a show cause notice to the PIO for not providing the information within the stipulated period.
During the show cause hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the representative of the PIO submitted that the RTI application was not addressed to the relevant quarters and it reached the PIO’s desk after a long journey.
View of CIC
The Commission noted that even after receiving the application, the PIO did not respond to it post haste. He responded only after receipt of notice from the Commission. The CIC held that it is not a case where full penalty of Rs 25,000/- should be imposed on the PIO and the ends of justice would be met by a token penalty. The Commission imposed a token penalty of Rs 500/- on the PIO.
The only provision in the RTI Act under which penalty can be imposed on a PIO is section 20 which talks of a penalty of 250/- for each day of dealy.
Citation: Mr. Dr. V.P. Singh v. CGHS in File No: CIC/LS/A/2013/000562
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1319
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