The heftiest penalty under the Right to Information (RTI) Act was imposed in Punjab Thursday when a government official was asked to deposit a fine of Rs.50,000 for failing to provide desired information to a citizen.
Manjit Singh, who works with in Punjab Housefed - the state federation of cooperative house building societies - as project officer and public information officer, was asked to deposit the penalty within 10 days.
If the officer fails to deposit the penalty, it would be deducted from his salary, state information commissioner P.K. Verma ordered.
Under the RTI Act, the maximum penalty that can be levied is Rs.25,000. But in this case, the officer was levied two fines of Rs.25,000 each for failing to provide information to a person within the time stipulated in the law.
Malkiat Singh had filed two separate applications seeking some information. Manjit Singh ignored both applications without assigning any reason. The delay was 126 days in one case and 173 days in another.
When the applicant approached the commission, the officer did not bother to appear before it. Following this, the commission imposed two penalties of Rs 25,000 each on the officer. It also recommended disciplinary action against the officer by his department.
Highest fine under RTI Act imposed in Punjab
Co-ops now under RTI
Co-operative societies and Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) across Gujarat will now be considered as public authorities under the Right to Information Act (RTI), according to a recent state circular. The state circular came as a blessing for borrowers, depositors and members who have been demanding accountability from co-operative banks, APMCs, societies or even milk and housing co-operatives for a long time. This concern grew after a string of scams were unearthed in some of these co-operatives across Gujarat a few years ago.
The circular was issued on March 30 following an order passed by the Gujarat information commission (GIC) in the case of Dilipsinh Jhala versus APMC Unjha, which said that co-operatives and APMCs are public authorities.
However, nearly 50 co-operative banks have argued that they should not be ruled as public authorities. An APMC of Unjha has challenged the decision of the GIC ruling it as a public authority in the High Court.
Times of India, Ahmedabad
Can someone clarify that if a State Information Commission passes a certain order, can a appelant show that order to the SIC of another state ? In other words are RTI Acts and Rules different for each state ?