Penalty imposed on Zonal commissioner for not providing info under RTI
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the information regarding the total number of matters reported to the local police by the Ludhiana municipal corporation, the total number of encroachers on whom a penalty of Rs 500/- per day had been imposed by the corporation and the total number of encroachers on whom a penalty not less than Rs 10,000/- per week had been imposed.
When the applicant didn’t get the required information, he filed the appeal with the first appellate authority and then the second appeal came up before the State Information Commission (SIC).
During the hearing of the case before the SIC, the first appellate authority stated that complete information was provided for Zone C only and the information provided by Zones A and B were neither attested nor complete. Further, Zone D had failed to provide any information.
Though the APIOs present on behalf of the respondents assured the commission that complete information will be furnished within a week, the SIC took strong note of absence of response from Zone D and a show cause notice was issued to the zonal commissioner and the PIO of Zone D for not providing the information sought within stipulated time. Ravinder Singh Negi, the State Information Commissioner also imposed a penalty of Rs. 250/- per day subject to a maximum of Rs. 25,000/- on the zonal commissioner under 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 RTI Act.