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smbhappy

Excuses like shortage of staff, extra-work, cannot be accepted as grounds for declining to supply information under rti act

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smbhappy

RTIFED NEWS

29 FEBRUARY 2012

 

Justice A.G. Masih today, while dictating a judgment in open Court today ruled that “excuses like shortage of staff, additional work load cannot be accepted as grounds for delay in supplying information to applicant under RTI Act; If such excuses are accepted, that would make the RTI Act redundant and ineffective and would frustrate the object for which RTI Act has been enacted; such internal administrative reasons cannot be treated as a defence for not supplying the information under the provisions of RTI Act.”

 

While hearing a Writ petition against the order dated June 14th, 2010 passed by the State Information Commission Punjab imposing a penalty of Rs.25 thousand against Lal Singh Tiwana, the State Public Information Officer of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust for delay of more than five months in supplying information to an RTI applicant, Gurwinderjeet Singh of Ludhiana, Justice Masih rejected all the reasons put forth by PIO, Tiwana, and concurred with the reasons given by the SIC Punjab for imposing penalty on the PIO for delay in supplying information to the complainant. Petitioner-PIO had stated that (a) Improvement Trust Ludhiana was functioning with only 40% of sanctioned staff strength; (b) there was a heavy rush of public for registration of plots on the basis of original price under a scheme which was expiring; and © additional work of census was being done by the staff, which resulted into delay in supplying information to the complainant.

 

Justice Masih, however, accepted the contention of petitioner-PIO that although RTI Application was received in January, 2010, the petitioner-PIO had joined at Ludhiana Improvement Trust on transfer only on May 11th, and that, therefore, he was not responsible for the delay on the part of earlier PIO. Accordingly, Justice Masih held that petitioner-PIO has to be imposed penalty @ Rs.250/- per day for the period of 75 days only, amounting to Rs.18750/-. Thus, Justice Masih reduced the quantum of penalty from Rs.25 thousand to Rs.18750/-, thereby partly allowing the Writ petition filed by petitioner-PIO. (Case is CWP No. 15850/2011 Lal Singh Tiwana v. State of Punjab)

 

________________________________________

– As reported by Advocate H.C. Arora, Counsel for Petitioner. He is president of RTIFED and Convemor of Action Group against Corruption (AGAC). He is a practicing Lawyer at Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh.

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Yogi M. P. Singh

Hon'ble members. In view of your friend judgement delivered by Hon'ble Court is logical and have far reaching effect. This excellent decision is settingup good precedent in order to disclosure of information. This judgement will create fear in the mind of PIOs who usually withholds information on filmsy ground. This judgement implies that those PIOs should not be spared by commission who infringe the section 7(1) of R.T.I. Act 2005. If commission is overlooking the delay in providing information, then this is obligatory duty of commissioner to made available reason of not awarding penalty on erring PIO.

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SNEHAL SHAH

Beautiful Judgment.

 

:)

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karira

Once final judgment is available, please upload it here in this thread.

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sharma_pnb

9 FEBRUARY 2012:) Justice A.G. Masih today, while dictating a judgment in open Court today ruled that “excuses like shortage of staff, additional work load cannot be accepted as grounds for delay in supplying information to applicant under RTI Act; If such excuses are accepted, that would make the RTI Act redundant and ineffective and would frustrate the object for which RTI Act has been enacted; such internal administrative reasons cannot be treated as a defence for not supplying the information under the provisions of RTI Act.

While hearing a Writ petition against the order dated June 14th, 2010 passed by the State Information Commission Punjab imposing a penalty of Rs.25 thousand against Lal Singh Tiwana, the State Public Information Officer of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust for delay of more than five months in supplying information to an RTI applicant, Gurwinderjeet Singh of Ludhiana, Justice Masih rejected all the reasons put forth by PIO, Tiwana, and concurred with the reasons given by the SIC Punjab for imposing penalty on the PIO for delay in supplying information to the complainant. Petitioner-PIO had stated that (a) Improvement Trust Ludhiana was functioning with only 40% of sanctioned staff strength; (b) there was a heavy rush of public for registration of plots on the basis of original price under a scheme which was expiring; and © additional work of census was being done by the staff, which resulted into delay in supplying information to the complainant.

Justice Masih, however, accepted the contention of petitioner-PIO that although RTI Application was received in January, 2010, the petitioner-PIO had joined at Ludhiana Improvement Trust on transfer only on May 11th, and that, therefore, he was not responsible for the delay on the part of earlier PIO. Accordingly, Justice Masih held that petitioner-PIO has to be imposed penalty @ Rs.250/- per day for the period of 75 days only, amounting to Rs.18750/-. Thus, Justice Masih reduced the quantum of penalty from Rs.25 thousand to Rs.18750/-, thereby partly allowing the Writ petition filed by petitioner-PIO. (Case is CWP No. 15850/2011 Lal Singh Tiwana v. State of Punjab)

FOR THE BENEFIT OF FRIENDS. CURTSY RTIFED PB

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jetley

Please post a copy of the decision. It will be useful to many members of this portal

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jetley

Thanks. Please upload a copy of the judgement, if possible

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smbhappy
Once final judgment is available, please upload it here in this thread.

 

Will do in a couple of days.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 1 march 2012

 

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that excuses like "shortage of staff", "extra work" cannot be accepted as grounds for declining information under RTI Act.

 

While pronouncing the order, Justice Augustine George Masih observed, "If such excuses are accepted, the RTI Act would become redundant and ineffective, and would frustrate the objective for which it has been enacted. Such internal administrative reasons cannot be treated as a defense for not supplying information."

 

The ruling has come in the wake of a writ petition filed against an order passed by the state information commission (SIC), Punjab, on June 14, 2010. SIC had imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 against the state public information officer of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Lal Singh Tiwana, for a delay of more than five months in supplying information to RTI applicant Gurwinderjeet Singh from Ludhiana.

 

Justice Masih rejected all reasons put forth by Tiwana and concurred with those given by SIC for imposing a penalty on the information officer for delay in information to the complainant.

 

In his petition filed against the SIC orders, Tiwana had stated that Ludhiana Improvement Trust was functioning with only 40% of sanctioned staff strength and there was a heavy rush of public for registration of plots on the basis of original price under a scheme which was expiring. He had argued that additional work of census was being done by the staff, which resulted into delay in supplying information to the complainant.

 

Justice Masih, however, accepted the petitioner's contention, that although the RTI application was received in January 2010, the petitioner-information officer had joined the trust on transfer on May 11, 2010, and therefore, was not responsible for the delay on the part of his predecessor. Accordingly, Justice Masih held that the petitioner-information officer has to be imposed a penalty at the rate of Rs 250 per day for a period of 75 days, amounting to Rs 18,750.

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nr_mohanraam

[h=2]your heading is very good. nr.mohanraam.salem-2Re: Excuses like shortage of staff, extra-work, cannot be accepted as grounds for declining to supply information under rti act[/h]

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SNEHAL SHAH

I think the verdict of any state HC is applicable all over India.

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smbhappy

The High Court Orders are certainly become law within their own jurisdiction. These are the citations for other High Courts/SC, but they may or may not subscribe to it. The finality comes with the Supreme Court pronouncements only.

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sharma_pnb

Dear friends,

I do agree with your point.

 

Thanks

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SNEHAL SHAH

True sir, but I think that the judgments of other state HC are applicable in the procedure/PH of the public authorities & state ICs and they are binding too.

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smbhappy

No the judgement of other High Courts are not binding beyond their jurisdiction. However the view taken may be subscribed and appreciated by any court if quoted. They may have a different or contrary view too.

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