SIC issues two show-cause notices to a single official
An application was filed by an RTI activist, Arvind Sharma, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information about the audit report of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) for the year 2010-11.
After Sukhvir Singh Jakhar, executive engineer, LIT, failed to reply within 30 days, an appeal was filed before the first appellate authority. The first appellate authority issued orders for disseminating information but again, LIT failed to provide it. Thereafter,a second appeal was filed before the State Information Commission (SIC) at Chandigarh.
In the hearing, it was ordered that in terms of Section 5(4)(5) of the RTI Act, 2005, Jakhar would be reckoned as the ‘deemed PIO’ and he would have to file an affidavit duly attested by an Executive Magistrate, in which he would need to provide justification for each day’s delay in providing the information to the appellant. The SIC also issued a show-cause notice as to why he shouldn’t be penalised 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 RTI Act.
In another case, Sharma asked for information regarding electrical purchases made by the department from January 2009 to March 2012. But after Jakhar, on behalf of the LIT failed to give full information to the applicant, the SIC issued a show-cause notice to him.