Two Public Information Officers found guilty of withholding information
as Reported By Yasha Sharma in the theindiapost.com Jun 12th, 2008
Bhopal, June 12:While disposing of two appeals against as many Public Information Officers, Chief Information Commissioner Shri Padmapani Tiwari has imposed fine on them. While a fine to the tune of Rs 25 thousand has been imposed on the then Public Information Officer, another Public Information Officer would have to cough out Rs 21 to clear the fine imposed on him.
On the complaint lodged by Shri Ajay Dube (Bhopal) against Public Information Officer posted at Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board Shri R.K. Shrivastava was found guilty of deliberately not giving information sought by the appellant and Rs 25 thousand fine was imposed on him.
Apart from two other points, the pieces of information sought by the applicant included '3. how many times grant was given to the institutions sponsored by the board' and '4. from 1998 to 2005, they board gave grant to how many non-government agencies and under what heads'.
The Public Information Officer gave the answers of first two queries but refused to divulge information about points 3 and 4. Replying to show cause notice, the Public Information Officer replied that the mistake was committed as he could not study the Act in a proper way. He repeated the same stand during hearing as well. In the orders passed by the Chief Information Commissioner observed that ignorance of law cannot be a plea for defence.
On the appeal of Shri Sanjeev Prakash (Guna), the Chief Information Commissioner found Public Information Officer Shri R.N. Gupta posted at Janpad Panchayat Bankheri (district Hoshangabad) guilty of withholding information within the deadline without any appropriate reason and imposed a fine amounting to Rs 21 thousand against him.
The applicant/appellant had sought information on four points from the then Public Information Officer of Janapad Panchayat Guna and presently posted at Janpad Panchayat Bankheri in district Hoshangabad. The applicant was not provided information sought by him within stipulated 30 days. The applicant filed first appeal which was rejected. The applicant moved second appeal before the Commission. After rejection of the first appeal, the Public Information Officer wrote a letter to the applicant to deposit Rs 302 against information sought by him and subsequently information was provided to the applicant. In reply to the show cause notice, the Public Information Officer took the plea that information had already been provided to the applicant but its receipt could not be taken.
The Public Information Officers had sought clemency citing mistake in compliance of the process.
The order given in this case stated that the applicant had become eligible to get information without any charge after three days but Rs 302 fee was charged from the applicant. The Chief Information Commissioner has instructed that Rs 302 amount must be refunded to the applicant within 15 days.
The order instructs General Administration Department to recover amount of fine from Public Information Officer Shri R.N. Gupta within stipulated time and send the compliance report to the commission.
Two Public Information Officers found guilty of withholding information (Right to Information Act) | The India Post