Although the information was not provided within the stipulated time, it cannot be said that the CPIO acted consciously and deliberately with intent to deny the information sought by the appellant and thus CIC refused to initiate penalty procedure under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act.
CIC instead has quoted High Court judgement for not initiating penalty procedure.
Penalty only if applicant proves mala fide intent of PIO
In WP© 3114/2007 Bhagat Singh Vs. CIC & Anrs. Hon’ble Delhi High Court vide order dated 03.12.2007 held that “……This Court takes a serious note of the two year delay in releasing information, the lack of adequate reasoning in the orders of the public information
officer and the Appellate Authority and the lack of application of mind in relation to the nature of the information sought. The materials on record clearly show the lackadaisical approach of the second and third respondent in releasing the information sought. However, the petitioner has not been able to demonstrate that they malafidely denied the information sought. Therefore, a direction to the Central Information Commission to initiate action under Section 20 of the Act cannot be issued…..”