CIC order directing payment of compensation to the appellant for the loss caused due to deactivation of ration card was not implemented - CIC: maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 imposed on PIO - CIC: Show cause notice for initiating prosecution issued
The Commission issued a show cause notice on 11th March 2015 based on the complaint of Ms Prema Devi against the Food and Supply Deptt GNCTD Delhi, for noncompliance of the order of CIC dated 26.9.2014 directing payment of compensation of Rs 26,000 to the appellant for the loss caused to her by deactivating the active ration card without informing her about the requirement of changing over to biometric verification and furnishing incomplete reply. In response the CPIO Mr Hari Prasad, Asstt Commissioner (South) submitted a written explanation stating that he was deputed to Election Duty as Returning officer in the Assembly Constituency 08 (Okhla) in the recent General Elections, because of which he could not take up the matter of implementation of orders of CIC with the competent authority. Thereafter, he claimed that heavy pressure of work on account of issue of NFS Ration Cards the matter slipped from his memory. He has also stated that now the orders were taken up with the higher authorities for necessary directions.
2. Mr Hari Prasad was personally present on this day of hearing and reiterated the same. Responding to Commissioner’s questions he agreed that the orders of CIC was received in September 2014, while election work started in the last week of December 2014 which ended in February 2015 and that he had two and half months before elections and one month after elections for paying compensation to the appellant. It was not done. The written and oral explanation of the PIO is totally not satisfactory and it also does not reflect any intention to implement the order, as he stated that the orders were taken up with higher authorities for ‘necessary’ action.
3. Commission finds it as a case of serious noncompliance of the order of PIO and thus a fit case to impose penalty under Section 20 of RTI Act, 2005 and imposes maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 on Mr Hari Prasad which shall be deducted in five equal installments of Rs.5,000/ each from the salary payable to Mr. Hari Prasad by way of demand draft drawn in favour of ‘PAO, CAT’ and the first installment should reach the Commission by the 10th May, 2015 and the last installment by 10th September, 2015. The demand draft should be sent to Shri Shanti Priye Beck, Joint Secretary & Additional Registrar, Central Information Commission, Bhikaji Cama Place, August Kranti Bhawan, New Delhi110066.
4. The Commission directs the PIO to arrange payment of Rs 26,000 along with an interest of 10 per cent from the date of order (26th September 2014) till the date of payment, within ten days from the date of receipt of this order and inform the compliance on 20th April 2015, at 2.30 pm.
5. The Commission also directs the PIO to explain by 20th April 2015 at 2:30 pm, why not the Commission initiate prosecution of PIO or any other officer obstructing the information, considering as ‘deemed PIO’ for the following offences under Indian Penal Code Section:
S 166. Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person.--
Whoever, being a public servant, knowingly disobeys any direction of the law as to the way in which he is to conduct himself as such public servant, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will, by such disobedience, cause injury to any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
S 187. Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance.--
Whoever, being bound by law to render or furnish assistance to any public servant in the execution of his public duty, intentionally omits to give such assistance, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such assistance be demanded of him by a public servant legally competent to make such demand for the purposes of executing any process lawfully issued by a Court of Justice, or of preventing the commission of an offence, or suppressing a riot, or affray, or of apprehending a person charged with or guilty of an offence, or of having escaped from lawful custody, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
S 188. Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.—
Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management. disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any persons lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both: and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both. Explanation.-It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.”
6. The Commission ordered accordingly.
Citation: Ms. Prema Devi v. Food & Supply Department GNCTD in File No.CIC/DS/A/2013/001545SA