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.