Can penalty be imposed in all cases where information has not been provided?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking information relating to the transfers and postings of an employee of the MEA after his return from Australia. He also wanted to know about the report sent by the said person alleging that the appellant had threatened him. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided some information and claimed that some other information did not exist.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant demanded that the Commission should impose penalty on the PIO for not providing him with the complete information. He also demanded that he should be compensated for the harassment and financial loss caused to him in the process.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO to provide copy of any note or communication received in the Ministry in which the said person might have referred to any alleged threat from the appellant, the documents including the file noting and correspondence created in the Ministry in connection with the report of the alleged threat and the all the relevant file noting dealing with the transfer /posting of the person. The CIC also directed the PIO to provide the copies of the complete files relating to the disposal of the appellant’s RTI applications. The Commission also noted that the appellant had been provided with whatever information the PIO thought was relevant within the stipulated period of 30 days, thus, no penalty can be imposed on him. The CIC further held that the appellant cannot be said to have been harassed or any detriment has been caused to him. Therefore, there is no ground for grant of any compensation.
Citation: Mr. Harinder Kharbanda v. Ministry of External Affairs in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001287
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1064
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission