Information Commission asks PIO to return money to RTI applicant
An application was filed with the forest department under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to know about the status of some of the projects in marathwada. The public information officer (PIO) replied to the applicant asking him to deposit Rs. 20,000 as charges for copying the information. The applicant deposited the requisite amount with the competent authority recommended by the forest department.
However, despite several reminders, the PIO failed to provide the demanded information. Aggrieved by this, the applicant submitted an appeal to the Aurangabad information commissioner. The PIO accepted during the hearing that the applicant had deposited the copying charges but said that he could not provide information as his senior officer didn’t release the money for copying information.
In a landmark judgment, the information commissioner has asked the forest department to return the money deposited by the appellant and to provide him the information free of cost. It is uncommon for the money deposited by an applicant for copying information to be returned to him owing to delay in providing information on the part of the public authority. In a recent case, the CIC had asked partial reversal of money to the applicant - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/refund-fee-due-delay-providing-information-pio-3591