<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=450 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=spacer> </TD></TR><TR><TD class=headline>WAPCOS asked to pay penalty for delaying information</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=450 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=news colSpan=3>
Nidhi Sharma | New Delhi</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>

In a decision that could set a precedent in the right to information initiative, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has awarded compensation for "harassment and detriment" caused to an appellant due to delay in provision of information.</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top> </TD><TD align=right width=210> </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Information commissioner AN Tiwari has asked Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited (WAPCOS) to pay Rs 2,000 as compensation to appellant Manoj K Kamra for causing him "avoidable harassment, subjecting him to delay and detriment".
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Though the compensation is a paltry Rs 2,000, it is a significant decision as the CIC usually does not compensate the common man for the expenses incurred during the application process or travelling to Delhi, in case he is a resident of another State.
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act 2005 lays down: "In its decision, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case might be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered."
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Bikaner-based Kamra had filed an application at WAPCOS, Gurgaon, on April 13, 2006 seeking records of the organisation and balance sheet of consultancy projects of the last three years. He filed his appeal on June 17, 2006 when he did not receive any reply. He received the appellate authority's order on July 17, 2006 with parts of the information. He filed an application before CIC, which was heard in January 2007.
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Last week, CIC observed that since this was the first RTI application of WAPCOS, the system was not in place. Information Commissioner Tiwari did not levy any penalty on the organisation but awarded compensation to the appellant.
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>In his order, Tiwari said: "Considering the fact that the mishandling of the appellant's matter by the public authority caused him avoidable harassment, subjected him to delay and detriment, he is entitled to some relief."
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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Tiwari suggested that the public authority may recover this amount from the CPIO or any other officer known to have caused the delay in providing information.
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