Sunday, July 4, 2010

CIC slaps Rs 250 per day fine on info officer

CIC slaps Rs 250 per day fine on info officer

TNN, Jun 24, 2010, 02.03am IST

LUCKNOW: The chief information commissioner (CIC) has slapped a penalty of Rs 250 per day on the information officer of the state home department starting from May 31, 2010, till the time he provides the information sought by an IPS officer under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Prior to slapping the fine, the CIC sought personal appearance of the officer concerned to award him the opportunity to explain the reason behind the delay in providing the said information to the applicant but the officer in questioned not only failed to appear before the CIC but also did not find it important enough to inform the commission about the reason of his absence in advance.

The issue relates to an IPS officer, Amitabh Thakur, who is presently on a study leave for a management course at the Indian Institute of Management - Lucknow (IIM-L). Thakur had reportedly submitted an application to the public information officer (PIO) of the state home department, Madan Kishore Srivastava, on May 29 seeking copies of all the notings, comments, letters, orders and correspondences related to his study leave application that he had applied on April 3, 2008. After the PIO of the state home department failed to provide the information, the IPS officer took refuge of the CIC.

After the due course of hearings, CIC Ranjit Singh Pankaj on May 30 ordered the PIO to provide the applicant with the required information by June 22, 2010 - the next date of hearing the case. In case of failure to provide the information, the CIC in his order stated that the PIO must provide the reason behind it. However the PIO neither provided the applicant with the required information nor bothered to inform the CIC about the reasons for the same or the reason for his absence from the hearing.

Taking serious note of the PIO's conduct, the CIC on Tuesday ordered a fine of Rs 250 per day as per the provisions under Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005, starting May 31, 2010, till the date the required information is made available to the IPS officer. The CIC also cautioned the PIO to provide the applicant with the required information before the case comes up for the next hearing slated for August 3, 2010. In case of failure, the commission will recommend for departmental proceedings against the PIO, Madan Kishore Srivastava.

Courtesy_

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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