No penalty imposed under RTI Act on the PIO for acting in good faith
Vide order dated 16 January 2012, the then Regional Manager of Central Bank of India Shri R.K. Singh was directed by the Central Information Commission to appear before the bench to explain why no action had been taken on the RTI application at the time it was received According to him. Shri Singh submitted that the appellant was directed to approach another branch of the bank because that branch was responsible for the payment of dues to the husband of the appellant (who had expired). He also submitted that apart from directing her to approach the Station Road Branch, he had taken further initiatives in the matter to get the LIC dues expedited by continuously corresponding with the LIC. He further informed that all the dues had since been cleared and the appellant had already received the amount from the LIC as well as from the Bank.
View of the CIC
The Commission observed that it was wrong on the part of the PIO that instead of collecting the information and providing it to the appellant, he advised her to approach another branch of the bank.
The Commission accepted the explanation of the PIO that he had acted in good faith under the impression that the Branch would assist her in not only getting the information but also in getting the dues cleared as early as possible. The Commission asked the PIO to bear in mind that it is the responsibility of the PIO to collect the information from wherever it is held and to provide to the appellant within the stipulated period of 30 days. Under Section 19(8) (b) of the RTI Act, the Commission also directed the Bank to pay an amount of Rs. 5,000/- by way of compensation to the Appellant.
Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, unless the appellant wants to inspect the records, the PIO should not direct the information seeker to visit any other office. It is the responsibility of the PIO to collect the information from wherever it is held and to provide to the appellant within the stipulated period of 30 days faiing which penalty may be imposed.
Citation: Smt. Meena Sharan v. Central Bank of India in file no. CIC/SM/A/2011/000069 & 1583
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/135
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