KANNUR: Even as a majority of officials of the Central and state governments and bank officials remain virtually ignorant of the consequences of their failure to provide information sought by the public under the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has handed out penalties to a number of those who failed to comply with the RTI Act.
A number of senior officials who were under the impression that they were not bound by the RTI Act, possibly due to lack of awareness on the implications of the law, has already landed themselves in trouble.
If the information supplied by the CIC to the People�s Council for Civil Rights at Thalassery is any indication, the bureaucracy in the country is much to learn about the rights conferred on the common man by the RTI Act.
A total of 9,452 appeals were filed with the Commission till June 30, 2007. Out of this the CIC has disposed of 6,240 cases while 3,212 were pending final disposal. A state-wise split-up of the information in this regard is not available, according to the CIC.
Among the officials asked to pay penalties for their failure to comply with the law were Tikam Singh of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and K D Bhansor, Deputy Director, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, who were directed to pay penalties amounting to Rs.12,500 each, and N Sundaram, Registrar of Banaras Hindu University, who was asked to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.
Sundaram, however, has preferred to file a writ petition against the penalty imposed on him.
More than a dozen officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, and the Delhi Development Authority were punished by the Commission for the violation of the RTI Act.