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By Atul Patankar
As reported by A Subramani at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 11 November 2009
CHENNAI: By going public with details of his assets, civil servant U Sahayam has joined an elite clique of individuals who have waged a relentless battle from within, and made the system more accountable and transparent.
Advocate and Right To Information (RTI) activist Subhash C Aggarwal set off a judicial snowball by submitting an innocuous query seeking to know whether judges of the Supreme Court were adhering to the May 7, 1997 Restatement of Values and declaring their assets regularly.
When the apex court was still in the denial mode, with the Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan himself countering the pro-declaration arguments, Justice Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court stepped out of the ranks and declared his assets on August 24. Justice K Kannan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court did not take long thereafter to blog his asset details. The war from within had well and truly begun.
That the Supreme Court refused to part with any asset-related information, that the Central Information Commission ruled that the office of CJI too was under the ambit of the RTI Act, that in an unprecedented act the apex court filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court against the information panel's ruling and that the Delhi HC concluded that the CJI's office did come under the RTI umbrella, is history.
The logical conclusion was reached when, on September 28, the Supreme Court officially announced that its judges would voluntarily' declare their assets. The disclosure was actually made on November 2.
With the last word yet to be said in the appeal proceedings before the Delhi High Court, the journey has already proved to be long and eventful for Aggarwal. Sagayam's battle with babus seems to have just begun, given the fact that most of his colleagues in service are distinctly dismissive and reluctant to disclose. While the judiciary is done with its share of denials and protestations, the state bureaucrats have embarked on the journey only now.
Just compare the situations in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The Tamil Nadu bureaucracy is not ready to join the transparency bandwagon, but the Madras High Court is all set to declare the assets and liability details of its judges on November 15. (In fact, Justice K Chandru submitted his details to Chief Justice HL Gokhale on Monday).
In Uttar Pradesh, a section of IAS officers serving in the state have already made public their asset details, whereas the 100-odd judges of the Allahabad High Court have adopted a resolution not to make public their asset details !
Source: From judges to babus, a fight from within for transparency - Chennai - City - The Times of India
What are penal provisions for non-compliance of section 4, i.e., suo moto disclosure of information?By changethechangers
As per 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,
(i) without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or
(ii) has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or
(iii) malafidely denied the request for information or
(iv) knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or
(v) destroyed information which was the subject of the request or
(vi) 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.
I have broken the wordings into 6 points for easy reading but if we remove the numbering, the wordings are exact copy.
In these six points, I cannot find any provision for penal action against a PIO for non-compliance of Section 4, i.e., suo-moto disclosure of information. So can CIC issue Show Cause Notice to a PIO or Head of Department, for non-compliance of Section 4?