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  1. In the Minutes of Meeting of CIC held on 12 August 2008, item No. 6 deals with the the procedure to be followed while imposing penalty on PIO and its in corporation in the CIC (Management) Regulations 2007: 6. Commission directed that the following procedure may be followed while imposing penalty and the same may be incorporated in the CIC (Management) Regulations 2007. i) Wherever there is no response of the PIO within the time specified in section 7(1) or there is a complaint that the PIO refused to accept application, the Commission shall issue a notice to him to show cause why penalty should not be imposed upon him. In such cases, the response of the PIO has to be assessed on whether the explanation offered by him provides “reasonable cause” or not. ii) If the information provided is incorrect, incomplete or misleading, the Commissioner shall issue a notice to him to show cause why penalty should not be imposed upon him. In such cases, the response of the PIO has to be assessed whether he provided incorrect, incomplete or misleading information “knowingly” or not. iii) If the PIO destroyed the information, which was the subject of request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing information, penalty shall be imposed upon him after giving him an opportunity of being heard. iv) If it is found during first hearing that any of the above situations prime exists, then show cause notice shall be issued in the notice of the first hearing only to save time of a separate hearing for imposition of penalty. The PIO shall be expected to present his/her explanation in the hearing. v) In all cases of penalties, a hearing needs to be held where both parties should be given an opportunity of being heard. A speaking order should thereafter be passed imposing or dropping penalty. vi) PIO shall not be given more than two adjournments to present his explanation. That shall be treated as reasonable and sufficient opportunity. The full minutes of the meeting can be viewed at: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Minutes/Minutes12082008.pdf
  2. CIC issues show cause to notice to CBI as reported in Governance Now by GN Bureau | June 09 2010 Office of the SP, CBI, Mumbai, did not provide information within the stipulated time period The central information commission (CIC) on Monday issued a show cause notice to superintendent of police, CBI, Navi Mumbai. In August 2007, Ram Kumar had filed an application in CBI headquarters, Delhi, under the right to information act. The application was transferred to CBI’s Mumbai office. In October 2007, Kumar received incomplete information. He was asked to deposit Rs 10 to obtain the copies of weekly diaries pertaining to a case which he had demanded in his RTI application. However, even after submitting this amount, he was not provided with this piece of information. Ruling in the applicant’s favour, the CIC has directed the office of SP, CBI, Navi Mumbai to provide the requisite information within 15 working days. “CPIO S.N. Saxena, Superintendent of Police, CBI, A 2 Wing, 8th Floor, CGO Complex, Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra) is further directed to show cause as to why a penalty of Rs 250 per day from the date information fell due i.e.3.6.'08 to the date when the information is actually supplied, not exceeding Rs 25000/- should not be imposed on him under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act,” said the order. Source : GovernanceNow.com | CIC issues show cause to notice to CBI
  3. Bikaner collector fails to reply under RTI, fined as reported in Times of India, TNN, JAIPUR: Jun 5, 2010, The chief information commissioner (CIS), Rajasthan, S D Kaurani, has imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on district collector of Bikaner for failing to answer some questions under the RTI. The matter relates to an application filed by one Sripal Jain on December 11, 2008 seeking information regarding deployment of election officers in Bikaner (west) assembly segment during the 2008 Vidhan Sabha polls. The applicant had sought information like names of poll duty employees, whose duties were cancelled, on what ground duties were cancelled, details of the officers who performed their duties, details of employees on duty in all the seven assembly segments of Bikaner during the 2008 assembly polls. The CIS has directed the Bikaner collector to deposit the amount within 30 days and extract the amount from the official responsible for the lapse. Besides, the commissioner has asked the collector to give all information sought by the applicant within the next 10 days. Bikaner collector fails to reply under RTI, fined - Jaipur - City - The Times of India
  4. As reported by Nidhi Singhi, TNN at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Apr 1, 2010 LUDHIANA: The officials of municipal corporation continue to show laxity in extending replies to queries submitted under Right to Information Act. During the year 2009-10, of 752 letters received under RTI, MC provided information to only 416 applicants. As many as 336 are still under scrutiny. The civic body has even failed to submit replies sought the state information commission in as many as 23 cases, due to which it has even been penalized. As the financial year drew to a close, officials were seen trying to finish as much work as possible. According to information, of 336 pending cases, the time limit of extending replies to 145 cases has already lapsed. The state information commission also imposed heavy penalty over RTI in-charge of the civic body, K P Singh, said, ‘‘We have disposed of as many cases as possible.’’ The alleged casual approach being adopted by MC in dealing with the applications under RTI Act had also proved dear to it. For instance, in one case, state information commissioner Surinder Singh had asked it to hand over a compensation of Rs 5,000 to an appellant on October 20, 2009 for delaying information. Similarly, on May 6, 2009, Punjab Information Commission imposed a penalty of Rs 22,500 on three municipal corporation officers for their failure to provide information under RTI Act within the prescribed period of 30 days to NGO, Anti-corruption and Crime Investigation Cell. In another case, a penalty of Rs 10,000 was slapped on legal adviser-cum-PIO of MC Kanwaljit Singh Kahlon and a fine of Rs 2,500 on the then joint commissioner-cum-PIO Devinder Singh for failing to provide information to an NGO, Resurgence India. A penalty of Rs 10,000 was imposed then executive engineer, zone C, HS Khosa for denial of information on the pretext of third party information. In this case, the information was sought in August 2008 about matters concerning metalling of Gill Road. Source: Civic body ?takes it easy? on RTI applications - Ludhiana - City - The Times of India
  5. CIC tosses out ’staff shortage’ excuse, fines official AS Reported in Taragana By IANS March 24th, 2010 NEW DELHI - The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that excuses like shortage of staff and work overload cannot be considered as reasons for not providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The commission penalised Mahesh Sharma, an officer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Rs.25,000 for delaying answers to a petition filed by Shiv Babu, who wanted information about the number of illegal cycle-rickshaws caught, and the number of employees in the rickshaw department of the civic agency. The application was filed Oct 15 last year. The MCD PIO (Public Information Officer) had sought assistance of Sharma on the petition filed. But the information was provided by Sharma only on Jan 18 and that too was incomplete. The commission asked Sharma to explain the reasons for the delay. He states that he is very busy and has to move in the field to catch the illegal rickshaws. He states that he did not have enough knowledge on how to manage his work. He also states that he had a shortage of staff, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi observed in his order. The RTI Act stipulates that information should be provided within 30 days, extendable to 45 days far valid reasons. These cannot be considered as reasons for not providing information under the RTI Act. All officers have to do all the jobs which their duty enjoins on them. Claiming shortage of staff and overload cannot be considered as excuses and the RTI Act has very clearly put the responsibility on the individual officers who are either PIOs or deemed PIOs. Mahesh Sharma has not advanced any reasonable cause for not providing the information, Gandhi noted. The commission directed the PIO to provide all the information to the petitioner before April 5. The CIC ruled this was a fit case for penalising the official and said: Since the delay in providing the correct information has been over 100 days, the commission is passing an order penalizing Mahesh Sharma Rs.25,000 (Rs.250 per day). The commission directed the MCD commissioner to recover the amount from Sharma’s salary in five months starting from April by deducting Rs.5,000 every month. CIC tosses out ’staff shortage’ excuse, fines official http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SG-19032010-09.pdf SG-19032010-09.pdf
  6. Atul Patankar

    CIC show-cause notice to PNB officer

    As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 14 December 2009 KANPUR: The Central Information Commission, New Delhi, recently issued a show-cause notice to the central public information officer (CPIO) Punjab National Bank, regional office, Kanpur Nagar and asked why a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 for delay in supply of information might not be imposed upon him. Issuing a warning against the CPIO, Satyananda Mishra, the information commissioner said if written explanation was not received from him by December 18, 2009, the commission would decide the case ex parte and would impose maximum penalty prescribed under section 20 (1) of the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act that is an amount of Rs 25,000. The commissioner, who has sent a copy of this show-cause notice to the complainant, Prabhodita Mishra, a resident of Nawabganj, asked her that if the CPIO responds in time and provides the required information, she should let the office know about the same at the earliest. The office also advised the complainant that if she did not receive any information from the CPIO despite this order then she may write to the commission against the non-compliance of the commission's order. The complainant had filed an application under RTI Act and had sought the information regarding the bank balance of her deceased father, Brahmendra Nath Mishra's account. The complainant had made first appeal before the superior officer that CPIO had only provided just one piece of information and was denying rest of the information under the pretext that it was not related to her query. Also, he replied after more than 17 months. Mishra had filed an application before the CPIO on February 24, 2007, which was answered to by the CPIO on July 21, 2008. Source: CIC show-cause notice to PNB officer - Kanpur - City - The Times of India
  7. ganpat1956

    DDA penalised by CIC

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to pay Rs 1,750 as fine after its Public Information Officer (PIO) failed to respond to a petition filed under the Right to Information Act within the stipulated seven days. Holding DDA guilty of taking a ‘dismissive attitude’, the CIC Bench headed by Chief Information Commissioner ordered it to deduct the fine amount from the salary of the erring PIO who did not give information regarding transfer of lease hold rights to the allottees of certain plots. “This information could have been provided within days of the application, instead of the months that it has taken,” it said, asking DDA to provide information in a week to applicant Pawan Kumar Jain. Terming the information sought by Jain as specific and simple, the CIC said last week that “The supply of the information cannot be circumvented by supplying a copy of the file, which in itself may or may not contain the information sought”. Considering the apology of the PIO that delay was caused due to heavy work pressure, the Commission said that “The admission makes the PIO liable to penalty... as per provisions of RTI Act”. Jain had submitted the application to the PIO on October 24 last year seeking information on the stage at which DDA transfers the lease hold and ownership rights to an allottee. He approached the DDA chief when no response was forthcoming, but this did not help. Eventually, he wrote to the CIC, which not only allowed his appeal but also penalised DDA for the delay and asked it to provide information in a week’s time. (Source: The Tribune, Dec.11, 2006) (I observe a key ruling in this news report, that I have highlighted for the members of the RTI community--Ganpat)
  8. In reply to a RTI Application filed by me (please see http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/7072-astonishing-analysis-ap-central-information-commission-orders.html), the PIO of the AP Information Commission has informed me that: Time Period: Since Inception till 31 August 2008: Only ONE PIO has been penalised under Sec 20(1). The penalty imposed was Rs 5000.00 The order (1781/CIC/2006) imposing penalty was dated 21 February 2007. The penalty was recovered and remitted through Treasury Challan No. 87846 dated 8 January 2008 (nearly 10 months later). Further, the PIO goes on to inform that there were NO cases in which Disciplinary action under Sec 20(2) was recommended.
  9. As reported at indianexpress.com on Nov 17, 2009 Chandigarh : The RTI Users’ Association on Monday protested against public information officers (PIO) challenging penalty orders through the office of the state advocate general (AG) office at government expense. Association convener H C Arora said a PIO has challenged the penalty order of the information commission through the AG office, while the SIC was left unrepresented. Asking Punjab Chief information Commissioner R I Singh to intervene and ask the AG office to stop representing the defaulting PIOs, Arora said the PIO of the department of health and family welfare, on whom a fine of Rs 25,000 was imposed, had filed a civil writ petition in the High Court. “I have found that the petition was filed on January 24, 2008, through government pleader. P C Goel, Senior Deputy AG appeared for the PIO on February 20, 2008, and pleaded the case. On November 6, 2008, B S Chahal, DAG, Punjab, appeared on behalf of the PIO, while the State Information Commission remained unrepresented. Again, on April 15, 2009, Chahal appeared in this case on behalf of the PIO, and in July and September, Charu Tuli, senior DAG, appeared for the petitioner,” Arora alleged. “The fine imposed on the defaulting PIO is recovered from his salary. It is credited to the accounts of the state government. The orders of the SIC are bound to be defended by the government through the AG office. However, in this case, the state government chose to act against its own as well as the interest of the SIC,” he said Source: Protest against PIOs using AG office to argue cases
  10. As reported by Nivedita Khandekar, in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Aug 28 2009 MCD official fined for misleading info- Hindustan Times The Central Information Commission (CIC) has imposed a monetary penalty on an official of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The reason: He supplied misleading information and delayed in replying to an application by an RWA under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Fed up with years of dilly-dallying by the MCD, residents of Raja Garden used the RTI to find out about civic facilities in their area. But even the RTI failed to evoke a response from the civic body, when they approached the CIC. The CIC in its decision in June pulled up the MCD’s public information officer (PIO) for not providing information on time and to fix responsibility for the delay. In its decision on August 25, the CIC has imposed a penalty on him under section 20 (1) of the RTI Act for a delay of 32 days at the rate of Rs 250 per day, amounting to Rs 8,000. The case pertained to an area occupied in allegedly in an unauthorised manner in Raja Garden. Almost two decades ago, a fire destroyed a timber mart in the area and the traders had been relocated. But many of them came back and continued to occupy the original place. The RWA filed an RTI application in August 2008 and sought to know whether the MCD had acquired any land for civic facilities. The CIC had in June asked the MCD to give the names of the officers responsible for the delay to the commission before June 30 and also asked to ensure that the applicant is provided with the relevant information before June 25. When the MCD sent its reply, Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi on August 25, imposed this penalty on the PIO and asked the MCD to ensure that the amount is recovered from his salary by November 2009.
  11. When an applicant files a plaint under RTI act, the PIO has to provide the information within 30 days. I want to know what are the consequences for the officer who fail to provide the information within 30 days ? I understand that the officer will be fined . But is there any concrete procedure to determine this fine amount ? Will this fine be calculated on daily basis ? then how much per day ? is this penalty amount same across all the departments of the goverment ? can the FAA or SIC let go the erring PIO just by reprimanding ? in extreme cases is there a provision in the act for suspension or sentencing an erring PIO ?
  12. Atul Patankar

    2 SEBA officials fined under RTI

    As reported at Assam Tribune on 07/08/09 GUWAHATI, Aug 7 – The State information Commission on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the secretary and deputy secretary of the Board of Secondary Education (SEBA) Dhandev Mahanta and Rabin Bhuyan for delay in providing information under the Right to Information Act. The high officials of SEBA had failed to provide information in connection to an application submitted by writer and journalist Paresh Baishya seeking to know how much money had been collected and spend for the conduct of the HSLC exams in the last 10 years and information about schools that had 100 pass percentage in the years from 2004 to 2008. Source: The Assam Tribune Online
  13. As reported by Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 8 Jun 2009 NEW DELHI: The dean of Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University has been served a showcause notice by the Central Information Commission (CIC) for not furnishing information under RTI regarding the marks break-up of students admitted to its MBA programme. The RTI was filed by the student who had topped the FMS written test in 2008 but could not make it to the flagship management programme as his extempore, interview and GD marks were not good enough. CIC has asked FMS to give the information sought - an order that may force B-schools across the country to disclose their admission test marks break-ups too or be flooded with RTIs. CIC has asked the Public Information Officer (PIO) to explain why penalty should not be levied under Section 20 (1). The commission held dean J K Mitra (deemed PIO) guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified has said that it raises doubt about the refusal being malafide. The order came in response to the student's appeal. On April 9, 2008 Nitesh Duhan, a MBA (Management Services student) of the 2010 batch filed an RTI seeking information on written, group discussion (GD), extempore and personal interview (PI) marks of each of the candidates who were admitted to the MBA programme. The DU registrar who is the first appellate authority had asked FMS to give the information to the PIO by July 31, 2008 so that the appellant gets it by August 14, 2008. On May 6, 2008 Duhan received a reply stating that information is denied under section 8 (1) (j) as "disclosure of the same to the applicant can be objected to by the candidates concerned.'' It came with a copy of the merit list for the MBA MS programme. Duhan then approached the DU registrar on June 3, 2008. "Despite the order I received no information and I told this to the FAA in February 2009. I wrote three more applications, the last one on March 25, 2009. Finally I was provided given a copy of the MBA merit list on March 31, 2009 but there was still no break-up of marks,'' said Duhan. The CIC notice (Times City has a copy) said: "It is also apparent that inspite of the clear order of the FAA to give the information by August 14, 2008, the information had not been provided to the appellant until March 31, 2009. The respondents were asked to explain the reasons for this and it appears from their statements that dean, FMS had taken a position that this information could not be given. All officers in public authority have to understand that they are bound to obey the laws and the structures thereof. It appears that Professor J K Mitra, dean, FMS has taken a position to defy the order of the FAA under RTI.'' In its decision allowing the appeal CIC said that the PIO will give the information mentioned before June 15, 2009. The CIC said: "From the facts before the Commission it is apparent that the deemed PIO Professor J K Mitra, dean FMS, is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per requirement of the RTI Act. He has further refused to obey the orders of his superior officer, which raises a reasonable doubt that the denial of information may also be malafide. The FAA has clearly ordered the information to be given.'' Mitra refused to comment. But FMS sources say the admission committee would soon meet to discuss the reply to the notice. Source: Reveal admission test marks, CIC tells FMS - Delhi - Cities - The Times of India
  14. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 1 June 2009 AHMEDABAD: Right to Information (RTI) Act today faces threat from two vicious enemies, believes Shailesh Gandhi, information commissioner of Central Information Commission (CIC). The increasing pendency of RTI cases in various state commissions, including Central Information Commission (CIC), and stay orders by various courts against information being provided to citizens are responsible for this situation, according to the official. Gandhi, 61, was in the city to deliver a talk on RTI at IIM-A recently. "Gujarat is one of the few states where people are using RTI in diverse ways, both for individual battles and larger issues of governance. It is this diversity that is keeping the movement alive. The act should be used as a tool to bring transparency in distribution mechanism of services by government," says Gandhi. He adds that pendency and constant conflict of information commissions in courts will actually kill the momentum of the movement. "In an ideal setting, pendency should be maintained at 90 days," he says. Being one of RTI's strongest proponents, Gandhi was involved in the RTI Act review before it came into force in 2005. He is also an active member of Hum Janenege', a pan-India group started by Prakash Kardaley, a Pune-based senior journalist, which serves as an online discussion forum about RTI experiences. But even before national RTI Act came into force, Gandhi, Kardalay and their motely gang of Hum Janenge' group had been experimenting with Maharashtra Right to Information Act since 2003 which was as a result of Justice PB Sawant's involvement in the formation of the Act. Gandhi, an IIT (Mumbai) graduate had sold off his packaging buisness and started using the Maharashtra RTI Act, questioning government on governance. "I remember my first RTI application was about the list of politicians who had caused frequent transfers of IPS officers in the state. After a relentless fight, I finally managed to get the information. This sparked off a chain reaction and I did not stop at one," says Gandhi. Source: RTI under threat from pendency of cases, IC conflict - Ahmedabad - Cities - The Times of India
  15. Atul Patankar

    Over 13300 cases disposed off by CIC

    As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 08 July, 2009 NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday said a total of 13,322 cases were disposed off by the Central Information Commission during 2008-09, almost double the cases resolved by it in the previous year. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, union minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions Prithviraj Chavan said a total of 7,722 cases were disposed off by the CIC in 2007-08 as against 4,074 cases in 2006-07 and 682 such cases in 2005-06. A total of 8,924 cases were pending as on April 1, this year, he said. Chavan also said Government has advised the Commission that decision on complaints and appeals should be taken by the Central information Commission as defined in Section 2 (b) of the RTI Act, 2005 and not by Benches of the Commission. "The Right to Information Act, 2005 does not contain any provision for the constitution of Benches," Chavan said. Source: Over 13300 cases disposed off by CIC - India - The Times of India
  16. As reported at Express India - Latest News, India News, Indian Cricket, World, Entertainment, Business & Finance News on June 5, 2009 New Delhi The CIC has slapped a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 on an employee of the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pensions for not providing information to an RTI applicant on time. The applicant Mahendra Kumar Gupta had sought some information from Kendriya Bhandar, which is under the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pensions. But the Central Public Information Officer of the department R K Singh provided the information after a delay of 215 days.The information was to be provided by September 27, 2007, as per provisions of RTI Act. The commission in its order imposed penalty of Rs 250 per day not exceeding Rs 25,000 as per the provision of RTI Act and directed the Kendriya Bhandar chairperson to recovered it from Singh's salary either directly or through deducting Rs 5,000 per month. The CIC in its earlier hearing had directed the department to show cause as to "why a penalty of Rs 250 per day from the date when information fell due September 27, 2007 to the date when the information is actually supplied, April 30, 2008, not exceeding Rs 25,000 should not be imposed." Source: Govt officer fined for delay in providing info under RTI - Express India
  17. Atul Patankar

    15,438 RTI appeals pending in state

    As reported by Viju B, TNN at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 1 June 2009 MUMBAI: The serious issue of pendency of Right to Information (RTI) appeals was mentioned in the charter of demands made by the 11 RTI activists who were sent to jail after they sang the national anthem at the state chief information commissioner Suresh Joshi's office last week. The issue unfortunately got sidelined in the hurly-burly of events. TOI has got a copy of the performance records of individual information commissioners across the state which shows that of the seven divisions, Aurangabad information commissioner (V Borge) tops the pendency of appeals with 4,062 and Pune information commissioner (V Kuvlekar) comes a close second with 4,054 pending appeals till April 1, 2009. The information commissioners for Mumbai and Pune have comparatively less number of appeals that are pending, with the Mumbai division having 1,168 appeals and Konkan division having 1,038 appeals to be heard till April 1, 2009. The overall pendency of appeals has gone up to 15,438 and according to RTI activists, this is slowly killing the effectiveness of the three-and-a-half year-old RTI Act. "I feel today the greatest threat to the survival of the RTI Act is the mounting pendency of appeals. If applicants are not provided with accurate information within the stipulated period, they will lose faith in the Act,'' central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi told TOI. Concurs RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu, "Each information commissioner should dispose of at least 20 appeals every day to clear the current backlog. Ideally, an information commissioner can dispose of around 250-300 cases per month,'' Prabhu said. Gandhi, for instance, hears over 650 appeals every month and his colleague, Annapurna Dixit, disposed of over 300 appeals each month. "We hope that the state information commissioners take a cue from this and increase their rate of disposal,'' Prabhu added. RTI activist Simpreet Singh said people are losing faith in the Act because of the delay. "I had filed a second appeal with the information commission six months ago, the hearing is yet to come up. The RTI Act was a very effective tool in the first two years of its coming into effect. But now the pendency of appeals is making people lose faith in the Act,'' Singh added. Meanwhile, a State Information Commission (SIC) official said that the steep rise in pendency had occurred because, for the initial period of one year and six months, the state had only one commissioner. "We have also realised that the penalties imposed by the information commissions have not been recovered by the state agencies. As a result, the public information officers brazenly deny the information,'' said a SIC official. Source: 15,438 RTI appeals pending in state - Mumbai - Cities - The Times of India
  18. In a recent order, IC PB has ruled that a question by an applicant relating to "procedure" is also information. http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/PB-21082008-01.pdf No doubt, information available in a material form alone could be sought for disclosure. Yet when a question relates to a procedure, then, it cannot be said that the same is not available in a material form and the CPIO should explain the procedure. In the present case, the appellant had sought for the procedure to be followed in case of allegations of corruption. The CPIO should have given answers to these queries. In the same order, the IC further ruled: I must record my strong displeasure for the observation in the comments that strong action would be taken against the husband of the appellant as no such threat could be made in respect of information sought through an RTI application nor any action taken in pursuance to such a threat. The AA who has sent the comments should note this not only in the present case but also in future cases that no penal or disciplinary action shall be initiated against an information seeker in connection with his/her RTI application.
  19. As reported at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 30 March 2009 NEW DELHI: Ignoring Central Information Commission's orders may prove costly for public authorities as non-compliance of the same will now be treated as "obstruction of information" attracting a maximum fine of Rs 25,000 under the RTI Act. "We will treat the non-compliance of our orders as fresh complaints. It will be treated as obstruction of information thus liable for a maximum penalty of 25,000," Chief Information Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah told PTI. Habibullah said though the Commission has not penalised any authority for non-compliance till now, but there have been instances where the CIC's orders were not followed and it has been decided that such public authorities would be dealt with strongly. The Commission, however, does not have any mechanism to know if its orders are followed by public authorities or not. In such a situation, petitioners will have to file a follow-up appeal with the CIC, which takes its own time to come up for hearing. According to the Chief Information Commissioner, the new procedure will mean that petitioners, if faced with non-compliance of CIC's orders and directives by public authorities, can file their grievance as fresh complaint which will ensure penal action by the Commission. Source: Non-compliance of CIC orders will attract Rs 25,000 as fine- ET Cetera-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
  20. Atul Patankar

    Two govt officials fined under RTI Act

    As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 26 March 2009 PATNA: The State Information Commission (SIC) on Wednesday imposed fine on two government officials for violation of Right to Information (RTI) Act. Those found on the wrong side of the Act are an executive engineer of electricity supply division in Saharsa district and secretary of Vishunpur Panchayat in Madhubani district. Both these officials failed to respond to the applications filed seeking information under RTI Act. In both these cases, the SIC imposed a fine at the rate of Rs 250 per day with upper limit of fine being Rs 25,000. The SIC also directed the erring officials to provide information to the applicants by May 11 and fixed May 18 as the next date of hearing of the cases. Source: Two govt officials fined under RTI Act - Patna - Cities - The Times of India
  21. As reported at www.indianexpress.com on 13 March 2009 New Delhi : The CIC has imposed the maximum fine of Rs 25,000 on a Delhi High Court official for failing to respond to an RTI application forwarded to it by the Supreme Court of India. "...it appears that he has no submission justifying the failure to respond to the application transferred to him by the CPIO, Supreme Court of India. He has therefore rendered himself liable for the full penalty of Rs 25,000," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah ordered. This is the maximum fine permitted by RTI Act. Habibullah directed the Registrar of Delhi High Court to recover this amount from Jt Registrar (establishment) and PIO P S Chaggar either directly or through deductions from his salary not exceeding Rs 5,000 per month from April 3. The case relates to RTI application filed by one Vijay Pal Singh who sought information, regarding a case filed by MCD against him, from the Supreme Court of India. The apex court forwarded the application to MCD and Delhi High Court as it was not the custodian of the information. While Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of MCD provided the information, though unsatisfactory as per Singh, the High Court representative did not even appear during the final hearing of the case at the CIC. Habibullah said Singh was free to move an appeal against the response given by MCD and a second appeal before CIC if dissatisfied. Source: CIC imposes penalty of Rs 25k on Delhi HC official
  22. karira

    Penalties imposed by CIC

    Our member Mr Vijendra Singh, filed a RTI application with CIC seeking information on the penalties imposed by the CIC till date. He made a small post in some thread in response to many comments and the post was consequently "lost". I requested him to send me a copy of CIC's reply. From the raw data, I have made a tabulation, which is attached. ANALYSIS OF CIC PENALTIES The highest number of penalties (in number and value) has been imposed by CIC WH. This could be due to the large number of departments he was handling before the 4 new IC’s joined the CIC. It could also be that he was handling a large number of departments from New Delhi/Delhi Government who are generally the ones violating the RTI Act. Without further information on the number of hearings held by CIC and each of the IC’s it is difficult to draw a conclusion. 52% of the penalties imposed have been recovered or are in the process of being recovered. In value terms, this is about 47%. However, CIC WH has the largest percentage of penalties whose “status is unknown”. Once again this could be because of the larger number of cases heard by him or because these penalties have been imposed recently or simply because there is no follow up by someone in his office to check on the status. IC OPK has the best “recovery” rate but also has the highest number of his penalties being challenged in the HC. IC MA has imposed the lowest number of penalties (5) out of which only one penalty has been recovered. IC ANT has a very low rate of recovery of penalties. Nearly 50% of the penalties imposed by him have either been set aside or the status is not known. Amongst the penalties set aside by IC ANT, there are 2 which he himself has “stayed” and another 1 which he himself has “waived” IC PB has imposed only 1 penalty of Rs. 7000/- which also has been set aside by her at a later date since new facts came to light. Only 5% of the penalties imposed by CIC have been challenged in court. Although most of the writs are still pending, the one writ that has been decided has been in favor of the CIC. No penalties have been dismissed by the HC. Only one disciplinary action recommended by CIC WH. None by the other IC’s have recommended any disciplinary action under Sec 20(2). Please remember that the total number of cases disposed by the CIC till August was 16,357 Another RTI application to DoPT by another applicant, revealed that DoPT has spent a total of Rs. 2.00 Lakhs in publicity for RTI in the last 3 years. The least that could have been done was at least spend the total amount recovered from the penalties imposed by CIC till date – Rs. 6.29 lakhs. The CIC does not seem to set aside a large number of penalties it imposes – only about 8% have been set aside. -0-0-0-0-0-0- PENALTIES IMPOSED BY CIC.pdf
  23. As reported by zeenews.com New Delhi, Dec 15: The Central Information Commission has imposed penalty of over Rs 20 lakh since 2005 on different public sector organisations for denying information to RTI applicants and the MCD has the dubious distinction of being fined the most number of times. Out of the 146 cases in which the CIC has imposed penalty since its inception in 2005 till August 2008, such fines were imposed 32 times on the MCD -- making it an organisation with the worst track record in implementing the RTI Act. While replying to a query filed by an RTI applicant from Orissa, Sidharth Misra, Central Information Commission CPIO Tarun Kumar said the total amount of penalty imposed on the MCD till August amounts to Rs 3.81 lakh. However, till date it has been able to recover an amount of Rs 1.10 lakh only from its officials responsible for the lapses. The total amount of penalty imposed by the CIC on different public sector organisation stands at Rs 21,69,750. The delay of more than one day in providing the information to the appellant cost the MCD a penalty Rs 250. The civic body has been directed to pay Rs 25,000 in a case where there was a delay of 135 days in providing information. "Every now and then we get to hear that the MCD is imposing fines in the Delhi to check littering on the roads, to check errant house owners for contributing to malaria/dengue and also on parking mafia," Misra said. The MCD has also requested the Delhi government to revise the fine amounts in order to overcome the losses incurred over the past years. So, it was not proper for the MCD to be the first in the list, he added. As per the reply, the next to follow the MCD in the list of most penalised organisations includes the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (13 times) and the Delhi Development Authority (eight times). Source : MCD most penalised organisation for RTI default since 2005
  24. CIC, in a recent decision has stated that the appellant's views cannot be considered by the commission in arriving at levy of penalty. Wonder why the appellant wanted leniency shown to the PIO even after waiting for over 6 months ! 5. It is pertinent to mention that though the views of the Appellant may be taken into consideration but that is not germane to any opinion arrived at by the Commission as far as levy of penalty is concerned. At the time of deciding any complaint or appeal, it is the prerogative of the Commission to form an opinion whether the PIO has without any reasonable cause, failed to furnish the information within the time limit mentioned in this Act. For that the Commission gives the PIO a reasonable opportunity of being heard. In this particular case, the Commission at the time of deciding the appeal in its earlier hearing dated 23 February 2007 had already observed that the PIO has, without any reasonable cause, failed to furnish information to the Applicant within the mandated time limit of 30 days. Even at the cost of repetition, the Commission would like to point out that the views of the Appellant cannot be a reasonable cause for dropping penalty proceedings against the PIO... Full decision can be viewed at: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_18052007_18.pdf
  25. Officer fined for denying info twice as reported in Times of India, 27 Oct 2008, TNN AHMEDABAD: Central Information Commission (CIC) has upheld the penalty of Rs 25,000 it had imposed earlier on Mamta Kundra, central public information officer (CPIO) of the office of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). After she had been penalised for failing to providing information to the complainant Ravindra Choubey under Right to Information (RTI) Act and also not responding to the CICs show cause notice, Kundra requested the CIC to review its decision. The delay in furnishing information, according to Kundra was due to the failure of administrative officer PM Roy who was responsible for putting up RTI requests before the CPIO and who had proceeded on voluntary retirement without putting Choubeys request before her. In his reply to the CIC, Roy stated that the delay was totally unintentional and was on account of the mental tension that he was passing through during that period. CIC noted that in the past as well Kundra had taken the same plea as in this case for not being penalised, and at that time her plea was accepted and penalty was not imposed on her. It held that the plea that delay was entirely due to failure of her junior officer was being taken rather routinely and if allowed to become common, would amount to conceding that a superior officer has no responsibility for inaction of her junior. Information Commissioner A N Tiwari noted that as Roys supervisory officer, it was for Kundra to ensure that he performed his duties diligently and responsibly. A senior officer passing the buck could be tolerated once, twice but not repeatedly. "Kundra was aware of the consequences of failure to abide by the time limits under RTI and yet chose to leave the matter to an undependable subordinate not once but repeatedly, she must bear the responsibility for her failures. Kundra cannot absolve herself of the responsibility of keeping track of the RTI requests and furnishing timely replies," held Tiwari. CIC held as unsustainable Kundras claim that Roy, who was assisting her, be treated as a deemed CPIO. It said he was part of the CPIO office and not a holder of information or an independent functionary. It also directed CAG to recover the penalty of Rs 25,000 in two monthly instalments. Officer fined for denying info twice-Ahmedabad-Cities-The Times of India
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