A perusal of Section 20 of the Act shows that it makes a provision to impose penalty either on Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer. However, there is no provision to initiate a departmental inquiry against the First Appellate Authority as per the Section 20 of the Act.
High Court of HImachal Pradesh
We find no provision in the Act which empowers the Commission to either reduce or enhance this penalty. If the Commission comes to the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds for delay or that the Public Information Officer (P.I.O) concerned has satisfactorily explained the delay then no penalty can be imposed. However, once the Commission comes to the conclusion that the penalty has to be imposed then the same must be @ Rs.250/- per day and not at any other rate at the whims and fancy of the Commission. To this extent the petitioner is absolutely right. The penalty either has to be imposed at the rate fixed or no penalty has to be imposed.