Penalty imposed on over PIOs every year in AP
As per data made available to an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Andhra Pradesh (AP) State Information Commission (SIC) disposed of a total 32,404 appeals ever since it has come into existence. The data shows that penalty was imposed in 879 cases on various government departments for failure to furnish information. This implies that on an average, penalty was imposed in more than 100 cases every year by the AP SIC. The departments facing penalty most commonly are the Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Revenue, School Education, Higher Education, Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Energy, Minority Welfare, Home, general administration and Forest departments.
Under the RTI Act, the Public Information Officer (PIO) is expected to provide the information to an applicant within thirty days of the receipt of the request. In case of life or liberty of an individual, the time period is reduced to 48 hours. Where the Information Commission is of the opinion that the Public Information Officer has without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees for each day of delay shall be imposed subject to a maximum of twenty-five thousand rupees. In case of life or liberty of an individual, the time period is shortened to 48 hours.
The reply shows that compensation was awarded to appellants in merely 49 cases. Compensation may be awarded by the information commission to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered.
The general secretary of Consumer Guidance Society under Right to Information Act, 2005, Ch. Diwakar Babu, had filed the RTI Application.