Jump to content
News Ticker
  • NPAs under PM Modi's Mudra scheme jumped 126% in FY19
  • shows RTI
  • RTI query reveals banking frauds of ₹ 2.05 Trillion reported in the last 11 years
  • 509 per cent rise in cases under child labour law: Study
  • The Central Information Commission has allowed disclosure of file notings on the mercy petition of a rape and murder convict, rejecting the government's contention that the records cannot be disclosed as these are privileged documents under Article 74(2) of the Constitution.
  • Electoral bonds worth over ₹5,800 crore were bought by donors to fund political parties between March 1, 2018 and May 10, 2019, a Right to Information reply has said.
  • Don't pay 500/- for answer sheet now- Supreme Court says if Answer sheet is asked under RTI, RTI Fees will be governed
karira

Delhi HC asks PA (instead of PIO) to pay penalty to the applicant

Recommended Posts

karira

In a judgment related to the seeking of information by a whistleblower from the CVC, the Delhi HC has ordered that the PA itself will pay the penalty to the applicant. It said that the responsibility on the delay in providing information had not been fixed by the CIC in its second appeal, since the appeal had not come up for hearing and therefore the PA itself should pay the penalty of Rs 22,500 for 90 days delay in providing information.

Although it awarded legal costs of Rs. 30,000 to the applicant, it refused to provide compensation since the amount was not easily quantifiable.

 

Points to be noted:

 

1. It is the PA which is being asked to pay penalty

2. It is the HC, and not the CIC, which has imposed penalty

3. A show cause notice was not issued

4. Was a reasonable opportunity given to the PIO

5. PA has been asked to pay penalty to the applicant

6. Compensation has not been awarded since the court felt that it is not easily quantifiable. Even though petitioner had argued that if he had got the information in time, he would have got his promotions before his retirement...thus leading to financial detriment due to delay in providing the information.

26. As far as the letter dated 31st March 2005 is concerned, which

from the Petitioner’s point of view was most critical for him, there is

no satisfactory explanation by the CVC for the delay in supplying a

copy of the said letter to him beyond thirty days after 27th October

2005, on which date the CVC received the Petitioner’s application

under the RTI Act, together with the requisite fee, for supply of the

copy of the message sent by the CVC asking that his past denied

promotions be released. The said letter did not constitute ‘third party’

information as it did not emanate from anyone other than the CVC

itself. It directly concerned the withheld promotions of the Petitioner.

Even if the other documents pertaining to the disciplinary inquiry

against the Petitioner’s superior were perhaps available with the

IOCL, a copy of the letter written by the CVC to the IOCL obviously

was available on the file of the CVC itself. That is how the CVC

ultimately furnished a copy of the said letter to the Petitioner on 27th

February 2006.

27. It is submitted by Mr. Siddiqui that the CVC had nothing against

the Petitioner. He submitted that the Petitioner was not an employee

of the CVC and so there was no reason why the CVC would

deliberately not furnish such information to the Petitioner.

28. The Petitioner not being an employee of the CVC hardly provides

justification for the delay in the CVC supplying him a copy of its

letter dated 31st March 2005 to the IOCL. The question here is not

about the motive behind the non-supply of information within time,

but the plain and simple fact that there was a delay “without any

reasonable cause” thus attracting the penalty leviable under Section

20(1) of the RTI Act. The proviso to Section 20(1) states that the

burden of showing that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on

the CPIO or the State PIO as the case may be.

29. The explanation offered by the CVC is not sufficient to excuse the

delay in furnishing the information. The CVC has not been able to

show that it acted ‘reasonably or diligently’ in the circumstances

outlined hereinbefore. However, this Court would lay the

responsibility for this delay in providing information collectively on

the CVC and not on its CPIO alone. The exercise that the Court is

now undertaking should in the usual course have been performed by

the CIC in the appeal filed before it by the Petitioner. But for some

reason, the CIC did not take up the appeal for a long time and this

compelled the Petitioner to approach this Court. The Petitioner is right

in contending that if the matter again goes back to the CIC only for

the purpose of determining what should be the penalty and the

compensation payable by the CVC, it would needlessly delay the

matter further.

30. The information sought for by the Petitioner from the CVC first

on 18th October 2005, and then on 27th October 2005 i.e. the CVC’s

advice to the IOCL on his promotions, was ultimately dispatched to

him only on 27th February 2006. It should have been given to him in

terms of Section 7(1) of the RTI Act by 26th November 2005 at the

latest. There is therefore a delay of over 90 days in the CVC providing

information to the Petitioner. The period of delay is nevertheless

limited to 90 days on the assumption that the information was finally

dispatched by the CVC to the Petitioner on 27th February 2006,

although the Petitioner claims not to have been delivered the said

letter and therefore not to have seen it till the counter affidavit was

filed by the CVC on 26th February 2008. There can also be no doubt

that the delay in furnishing the information to the Petitioner has

caused him severe prejudice inasmuch as he was unable to seek the

restoration of his denied promotions prior to his retirement in

December 2005. Accordingly a penalty at the rate of Rs. 250/- for

every day’s delay, as mandated under Section 20(1) of the RTI,

totalling Rs. 22,500/- (90 x 250) is directed to be paid by the CVC to

the Petitioner within a period of 4 weeks from today.

31. As regards the question of compensation payable in terms of

Section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, this Court is of the view that the said

amount is not capable of easy quantification. The interests of justice

would be served if the CVC is instead asked to pay the Petitioner the

costs of this petition which are quantified as Rs. 30,000/-. The said

amount should also be paid by the CVC to the Petitioner within a

period of 4 weeks from today. This order will also dispose of the

Petitioner’s appeal pending before the CIC.

32. With the above directions, the writ petition and the pending

application are disposed of. Copies of this order be delivered

forthwith to both the CVC and the CIC.

 

The full Delhi HC judgment is available on our sister website: home - RTI India: The Complete Information and Resourse Regarding Right to Information of India

 

(Requires separate registration since it is hosted on a separate server)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rajub

It is really surprising even High Court pronounces judgments which are clearly contradictory to the provisions of the RTI Act.

 

1] The RTI Act clearly says that penalty will be paid by the PIO. If the PA files review petition to HC or wp to SC and if this judgment is overruled what justice is done to either petitioner or to RTI cause?

 

2] There is no specific mention of penalty to be paid to the govt. but it has so far been routinely paid to the govt. (not to the appellant/complainant). I think anybody can file a PIL against this point as it will open a pandora's box and there will be a flood of petitions to earn the penalty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
taurus

It is unimaginable! But the position will remain unchanged as the PA will not go on appeal and waste their time for a 'public cause' of establishing the legal position. That is the pitiable part of the whole affair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smbhappy

I have not read the full judgment. But why the petitioner went to high Court while his appeal was still pending before the CIC? Petitioner over jumped the procedure set out in the RTI Act. What was the need? High Court, too, bye-passed the procedure and instead of asking CIC to expedite the appeal. The order of the High Court is erroneous in holding CVC culpable of delay, without any cogent reason.

 

I hold the petitione resoponsible for all this mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sajib Nandi

2] There is no specific mention of penalty to be paid to the govt. but it has so far been routinely paid to the govt. (not to the appellant/complainant). I think anybody can file a PIL against this point as it will open a pandora's box and there will be a flood of petitions to earn the penalty.

 

Can we refer to this judgment of the Hon'ble HC during hearing at the CIC, and demand that the penalty be paid to the appellant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

Maharashtra SIC has also given a similar decision ordering PA to pay fine. However, it ordered the municipal commissioner to fix responsibility within PMC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
colnrkurup

No PA will appeal against it. It is mockery of the RTI Act if the PAs are penalised under Section 20 of RTI Act in place of PIO. Such payment of penalty has no meaning as the the source of the fine is government fund. If the High Courts start turning out such orders parading ignorance of the provisions of the RTI Act there is no way out. At least SGPC should have gone for further appeal in principle as no one can peanlice SGPC under RTI Act with no fault of theirs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira
Can we refer to this judgment of the Hon'ble HC during hearing at the CIC, and demand that the penalty be paid to the appellant?

 

Yes you can. Specially in those cases where IC tries to escape by saying he cannot fix responsibility of any one person in the PA or uses terms like "system failure", "collective failure" etc.

 

No PA will appeal against it. It is mockery of the RTI Act if the PAs are penalised under Section 20 of RTI Act in place of PIO. Such payment of penalty has no meaning as the the source of the fine is government fund. If the High Courts start turning out such orders parading ignorance of the provisions of the RTI Act there is no way out. At least SGPC should have gone for further appeal in principle as no one can peanlice SGPC under RTI Act with no fault of theirs.

 

Colnrkurup,

 

There is a saying in Hindi "Kuan ka mitti kuan mein hi gayee" - The mud from the well went into the well itself !

 

Tax payers money comes back to tax payer himself.

 

I am only wondering why didn't the Hon'ble High Court send the matter back to CIC to hear it within a time limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ambrish.p
Can we refer to this judgment of the Hon'ble HC during hearing at the CIC, and demand that the penalty be paid to the appellant?

 

Every judgement by Hon High Court is precedent.IF TEH SAME ISSUE IS RAISED BEFORE THE HON'BLE SUPREME COURT IN SOME PROCEEDINGS , HON'BLE COURT WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RE DECIDE THE SAME, UNTIL THEN THERE IS BINDING TO FOLLOW THE SAME. keeping this in view can applicant ask for payment of penalty to him/her.

 

UNTIL AND UNLESS THIS ISSUE IS DECIDED OTHERWISE BY THE HON'BLE SUPREME COURT, TEH JUDGMENT RENDERED IN THE MATTER HAS TO BE FOLLOWED.

 

regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rajub
I am only wondering why didn't the Hon'ble High Court send the matter back to CIC to hear it within a time limit.

 

HCs have wide (undefined) powers under article 226 of constitution. It is expected they are used prudently and with maturity.

 

In this case HC may have interfered to ensure the speedy justice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

In this case HC may have interfered to ensure the speedy justice.

 

Justice?

 

He was a whistleblower, harassed by the PA and bypassed for promotions.

Ultimately he retired without any of the matters raised, being addressed by the CVC, CIC or even his own organisation.

What did he get ?

Rs. 22,500 (although incorrectly) and Rs 30,000 for legal costs (we all know he must have spent more than that)

No compensation was awarded - even though he suffered financial detriment due to a delay in the provision of information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rajub
Justice?

 

He was a whistleblower, harassed by the PA and bypassed for promotions.

Ultimately he retired without any of the matters raised, being addressed by the CVC, CIC or even his own organisation.

What did he get ?

Rs. 22,500 (although incorrectly) and Rs 30,000 for legal costs (we all know he must have spent more than that)

No compensation was awarded - even though he suffered financial detriment due to a delay in the provision of information.

 

Ok, let us analyse the situation further.

 

1] Had the case been remanded to CIC what the applicant would have got? The penalty amount of Rs.22500?, the legal costs of Rs. 30000?

 

What do the antecedents of the CIC suggest?

 

2] What was the writ petition for? Was not it for denial of information? Now that the HC has ordered the supply of information. What CIC would have given more than that?

 

3] Can CIC (or even HC) undo the bypassing of promotion?

 

4] When a crime is done (say murder or illegal termination or rape) can a court undo the effects? Can a court make the murdered person alive? Can a court give back a terminated employee what he/she lost during the termination (apart of back wages as he/she looses precious years of life as unemployed which cannot be compensated with mere back wages)? Can a court make the life as it was before the rape for rape victim?

 

We may disagree with the decision of the HC? But, for what reason the HC bypassed the RTI Act in favour of applicant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
balaraghavan

unable to get the judgment or and unable to register

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
chami

I am curious to know whether the amount will be recovered from the salary of the PA or the Accounts Officer will shove it under the misc head!

 

I have personally approached our vigilance officer (some other matter; different story altogether) but he always says that he first needs evidences and then proof so that he can enquire the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy