RTI case-study from Karnataka
Grama panchayat secretary penalised under RTI Act
Saturday December 9 2006 10:07 IST
<SMALL>MANGALORE: A gram Panchayat secretary found guilty of denying information under Right to Information (RTI) act was penalised by the Appellate authority on Thursday.
This is the first instance of a gram panchayat secretary being penalised under RTI act in the state, sources said.
Close on the heels of an arbitrary increase in house tax, Lakshminarayan Bhat resident of Ariyadaka village in Puttur taluk submitted an application under RTI act seeking information on GP’s resolution on house tax revision among others in writing in 2005.
Ariyadka Gram Panchayat Secretary Jagadish who is also Public Information Officer (PIO) without furnishing authentic documents attempted to mislead the applicant with wrong documents.
The PIO also lied on the existence of some relevant documents and provided 526 pages of unessential information to the applicant.
In violation of guidelines on collecting fee for information, PIO collected Rs five for every photo copy and Rs 10 for every manuscript.
Though no resolution was passed by the Gram Panchayat the IPO had insisted on the existence of such a resolution and acting at the behest of president had even endorsed the documents.
The applicant submitted an appeal to Gram Panchayat president Geetha who is the appellate authority and charged PIO of infringing rights under sections 18, 4 of RTI.
The Authority upholding the contention of applicant penalised IPO and directed Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer to initiate disciplinary actions against PIO for dereliction of duty.
The Appellate authority also directed PIO to refund excess money of Rs 1898 collected in violation of guidelines with an interest of 10 per cent.
The panchayat’s loss should be compensated with interest and deposited in the treasury. PIO also must pay a compensation of Rs 2,500 for the harassment caused to the applicant.
The Appellate also ordered PIO to pay compensation within a month from the date of order.</SMALL>
<SMALL>( news reported in indpress.com)</SMALL>
I could not understand this! How could PIO be ordered to pay compensation, other than for delay in information @250/- per day!
Originally Posted by ganpat1956
It may only be a fine, wrongly interpreted as a compensation, by the reporter.