Penalty for delay in providing information under the RTI Act is fixed
As there was a delay of 14 days in providing the information demanded under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by the Public Information Officer (PIO)-cum-executive officer of municipal council of Solan, the State Information Commission (SIC) had imposed a penalty of Rs 1,500 on him. The appellant filed an appeal in the Himachal Pradesh High Court against the amount of the penalty imposed. The High Court held that the State Information Commission (SIC) doesn’t have any power to impose penalty other than that prescribed in Section 20 of the Right to Information Act, 2005. It has been argued that either penalty has to be imposed at rates fixed under the section 20 or no penalty has to be imposed.
The division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol of the High Court held that once the SIC concludes that a penalty is to be imposed, it has to be at the rate of Rs. 250 for each day of delay and the total amount of penalty should not exceed Rs 25,000/-. The High Court increased the penalty amount to Rs. 3500/-.