The former PIO explained that workload as the returning officer and election petition caused the delay in replying to the RTI application - CIC: the period of delay not explained; maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- imposed on the PIO for the delay
1. Further to Commission’s order of even number dated 1 August 2013, matter pertaining to show cause notice was heard today. Respondent as above were present in person. It was submitted by Shri Ashish Kumar former SDM Civil Lines zone that the RTI application was received on 13 April 2012 and that during April – May 2012 he was designated as returning officer for elections to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in respect of Ward nos 5 – 8. Also that after the election process was over he was busy with three election petitions filed by the losing candidates and that he could properly attend to his official duties as SDM during the third week of May 2012 in real earnest.
2. Also, the order of the first appellate authority was passed on 11 July 2012 directing him to provide the requisite information in three weeks. That this order was received by him on 17 July and that he was transferred out of civil lines subdivision in the first week of August. Further, the grievance of the appellant was resolved subsequently to her full satisfaction.
3. After hearing the averments of the former CPIO, Commission notes that he has not been able to explain the reasons for not having provided the requested information to the appellant during the period 15 May 2012 onwards when by his own admission he had become free of election related work by that time and was attending to his normal work. Even subsequently after receiving the order of the first appellate authority, the former CPIO had clear three weeks before he handed over charge to join his new place of posting. Even during this period he made no attempt to provide the requested information to the appellant. Therefore, as per the provisions of section 20(1) 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: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the Act Commission imposes maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- on the former CPIO Shri Ashish Kumar currently posted as SDM (HQ), office of the Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) GNCTD which amount will be deposited in five equal installments @ Rs.5000/pm. The Appellate Authority, Office of the Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) GNCTD is directed to recover the amount of Rs. 25,000/from the salary of the CPIO Shri Ashish Kumar and remit the same by a demand draft or a Banker’s cheque in the name of the Pay & Accounts Officer, CAT, payable at New Delhi and send the same to Shri Pankaj K.P. Shreyaskar, Director and Joint Registrar of the Central Information Commission, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, New Delhi -110066. The amount may be deducted at the rate of Rs. 5000/per month every month from the salary of the CPIO and remitted by the 10th of every month starting from November, 2013. The total amount of Rs. 25,000/will be remitted by 10th of April 2014.
(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Ms Amrita Chaudhary v. Dy. Commissioner (North) in Adjunct to Appeal: No. CIC/AD/A/2012/002887/DS