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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.
Fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on 14 government officials who failed to provide information sought under the RTIBy rohitab
Under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, the state information commissioner (SIC) imposed a total fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on 14 government officials who failed to provide information sought under the RTI.
UP information commissioner Hafiz Usman on Friday imposed a penalty on 14 government officials, including the district magistrate of Sambhal and Moradabadchief development officer for not providing information sought under the Right to Information Act.
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 22: Using your right to information could not get easier than this. Soon, Bihar will be the first and only state in the country where, instead of writing and submitting your RTI application on paper, you can ask your queries orally via phone as well as receive the information the same way.
This facility assumes significance given the low literacy levels in the state helping the citizen bypass the need of drafting questions, filling oput the form and submitting it to the department.
Once implemented, anybody seeking information under the RTI Act in Bihar can call on a specific phone number â€” which will be a routed to a call centre â€” from anywhere in the country and orally ask for the information she wants. The call will be answered by an executive trained in the use of RTI, who will draft and type the questions and send it to the department and public information officer (PIO) concerned.
The information, once ready, will be sent by the PIO directly to the caller. In addition, it can also be delivered to the caller via phone.
â€œWe are working on the technical details. I have assigned some officers for the project. Once the details are worked out we will be able to tell when the facility will be ready,â€ Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told The Indian Express. Nitish, the prime mover of the project, is said to have been impressed with the idea when it was first proposed to him last month and immediately gave directions for its implementation.
Language will not be a barrier in this new system. â€œThe call center will be equipped to take calls in English, Hindi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and all other dialects spoken in Bihar,â€ Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister Chanchal Kumar said.
â€œThe project will be an extension of the telephonic public redressal system that is already in place. It will involve the department of Personnel, National Informatics Centre and the telecom department who are jointly working on it,â€ he added.
To implement this system the state government will require to make a few amendments to the RTI Rules. While the call center will have to be declared an assistant public information officer (APIO), acceptance of fee on phone will have to be included in the rules as an accepted mode of fee payment.
The government will take assistance from Delhi-based NGO Parivartan. â€œThis facility will take RTI to the illiterate masses in rural areas. Besides, RTI applications can be filed in a few minutes as against a few days it takes today,â€ said Parivartan founder Arvind Kejriwal. â€œOne of the main problems that people are facing at present is not knowing which department to approach for which kind of issue. That problem will now be taken care of,â€ said Kejriwal.
RTI on the phone
â€¢ A dedicated phone number called the RTI Application Number routed to a call centre in Patna.
â€¢ You may call this number for a fee of Rs 10 (the application fee) plus call charges for the duration of the call.
â€¢ Give your name, address and the information you want
â€¢ Phone conversation will be recorded and details typed into the computer which then is your application. â€¢ Call centre forwards the application to the relevant authority, sends a copy to you.
(Source: The Indian Express, Dec.23,2006)
Bangalore: Karnataka would do well to follow the Bihar example and make it possible for citizens to file Right to Information (RTI) applications over the telephone, said Aravind Kejriwal, Magsaysay Award-winner and founder of the Delhi-based NGO Parivartan.
Delivering the keynote address at a public awareness programme on the RTI conducted by the Karnataka State Chartered Accountants Association, Bangalore University and Doordarshan, the well-known activist said the next step forward for the effective implementation of the RTI Act was simplifying the process of application.
Bihar had evolved a system of accepting applications over the phone. Karnataka, being the hub of information technology, could do it easily, he said. It could be done in 10 days and would cost as little as Rs. 1.5 lakh a month, he said.
Mr. Kejriwal also emphasised the need to strengthen the functioning of the Information Commission and ensure that it was strict on bureaucrats who refuse to follow the RTI guidelines. The crucial clause of the Act, he pointed out, was the one which said that a penalty would be deducted from the salary of erring officers.
Even honest officers tended to evade the responsibility because they are â€œculturally not oriented to give information to the publicâ€, Mr. Kejriwal said.
Citing several examples to illustrate how the RTI had helped a range of people, from a daily wage earner to a software engineer, he called it a radical piece of legislation that ensured that an ordinary citizen no longer felt â€œhelplessâ€ before the system. â€œIt is an opportunity to make a difference in governance,â€ said Mr. Kejriwal, and urged people to file applications on ongoing schemes in their localities to ensure that the government machinery was accountable and responsible. He also emphasised the role of the Lokayukta in ensuring that action was taken on the information obtained.
Recalling the genesis of the legislation, he said it had its roots in the struggle launched by a labourers association with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan started by Aruna Roy in Rajasthan. The labourers had demanded that they be shown the muster rolls because they were getting Rs. 12 instead of the Rs. 24 they were promised. The struggle was carried forward by pioneers such as Anna Hazare in Maharashtra. â€œThe right to information is fundamental to the very existence of democracy,â€ said Mr. Kejriwal.
The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : RTI Act: State urged to follow Bihar example
02/21/2018 03:26 AM