Senior official fined Rs 15,500 for delayed RTI disclosure
New Delhi, Mar 13: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has imposed a fine of Rs 15,500 on a senior officer in the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) for a delayed information disclosure on an RTI application seeking details about the relief and rehabilitation for the oustees of the Narmada dam project.
The fine was imposed on P Padmanabhan, Director in Central Water Commission, who in November 2006, serving as Senior Joint Commissioner and Central Public Information Officer in the Ministry, had delayed in responding to the application.
"The answer now given (in response to the CIC complaint) should have been the answer given at the time of submission of the (original) application," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in the order passed yesterday.
The applicant Rahul Mangaonkar, a resident of Ahmedabad, had made an application before the Prime Minister's Office seeking information on the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs decision to review the raising of height of Narmada dam.
The Ministry of Water Resources had declined to disclose any information on the issue of the height of the dam but on the another issue of whether Medha Patkar-led NBA had given any list about the oustees not yet rehabiliated satisfactorily, it had said "no such information is avilable with the Ministry".
Mangaonkar, who was aggrieved by the response of the Ministry, had approached the CIC with a complaint that the information provide to him was not sufficient and details be given to him. Acting on his plea, the CIC agreed with the plea of the applicant that the Ministry was not providing the information satisfactorily and issued show cause notice to the CPIO as to why he should not be penalised.
"It was not adequate for the Ministry, which is the administrative Ministry in the GOI on the Narmada project, to so wash its hands of information on the principal subject, the importance of which to the execution of the project can hardly be denied," the CIC said.
Padmanabhan, who responded to the show cause notice, had clarified that despite the efforts made by MoWR, Medha Patkar's NBA did not provide any state-wise list of the affected families in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.