In a significant decision of Dr. Nazrul Islam vs State Of West Bengal & Ors on 31 August, 2016, Calcutta high court has ruled that “It is the Department who has to compensate a citizen for any loss, detriment or harassment suffered by him by reason of failure of its officers to perform their duty.”. The Department cannot claim that “responsibility and liability should be fixed only on its officers”.
The court further added that “In fact, the Department should recover from its concerned officers the compensation that the Department has to pay to the affected citizen.” Read more ›
In an unprecedented decision, CIC imposed a penalty over RTI Applicant even though the RTI Act do not provide for the same. Central Information Commission while deciding the case recorded that “Though the RTI Act has not provided to impose penalty against the RTI applicant, the Commission record its contempt against RTI Applicant for misusing the RTI Act against the school child and imposed a penalty of Re. 10/ which is to be paid to the Principal of the School”.
Commission, also directed the then CPIO and the Principal of the School to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed on both of them and disciplinary action be initiated against both of them for not complying with the provision of Section 11 of RTI Act and causing breach of the privacy of the child and his parents. The Commission directs the Principal and CPIO to show cause why compensation of Rs 1000 each be paid to the child for the loss they caused by breaching his privacy.
The Commission holds that information exempted under section 8(1)(j) was disclosed and because of which the right to privacy of the child and his parents was violated by the Principal and CPIO. The Commission directs the CPIO and Principal not to disclose the personal information of the students to any person, much less to his so called relatives without following the procedure under Section 11 of the RTI Act. Read more ›
Although the information was not provided within the stipulated time, it cannot be said that the CPIO acted consciously and deliberately with intent to deny the information sought by the appellant and thus CIC refused to initiate penalty procedure under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act.
CIC instead has quoted High Court judgement for not initiating penalty procedure.
Penalty only if applicant proves mala fide intent of PIO
In WP(C) 3114/2007 Bhagat Singh Vs. CIC & Anrs. Hon’ble Delhi High Court vide order dated 03.12.2007 held that “……This Court takes a serious note of the two year delay in releasing information, the lack of adequate reasoning in the orders of the public information
officer and the Appellate Authority and the lack of application of mind in relation to the nature of the information sought. Read more ›
Appellant lost it because, instead of giving a fresh application she chose to file RTI with the help of NGO representatives.– Response of Public Information Officer (PIO) during hearing at Central Information Commission (CIC)
CIC noted “It appears that the whole issue is of ego of the officers exhibiting anger for approaching through RTI and intolerance to the presence and support of NGO to the appellant.” CIC observed that a woman officer was so unkind towards a 70 yr old poor woman surviving on pension.
After hearing the ‘explanation’ to show cause notice and reading written submission made by PIO/Dy Director (FAS) Women and Child Development Department, GNCTD, Delhi the Commission noticed that PIO tried to shift the blame on to the NGO for not helping appellant to act as per publicity given by Government. The Commission finds PIO has no regret and she is in no mood to restore pension or pay compensation. Hence, the Commission considers it a fit case to impose maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 to be recovered from her pay in 5 equal monthly instalments. If you have any questions, you can head straight to our forum and post. If you want to become RTI Activist, visit our site here on how to become RTI Activist.
The Commission recommends the public authority to take disciplinary action against the PIO for defying RTI Act, order of the CIC, besides dereliction of duty, being adamant to right of appellant to pension, and information, and for non-compliance of orders of Commission. Read more ›
In a much relief for an RTI applicant, CIC has given a judgement that claim by Public Information Officer that similar RTI application was earlier answered is no defence for denial unless that claim is proved. Secondly CIC ruled that giving reference to website alone to obtain information sought is not complete provision of information under RTI Act. It should be accompanied by offer of supply of hard copies on payment of cost of copying. (If you want to file RTI online visit this article to know about it)
If the RTI application is a repetition and information was furnished, the PIO has to discharge the burden of proving the same. He should have to at least sent a copy of the same information to the appellant with reference to the present RTI application also, as non furnishing of information to the RTI application will be viewed seriously by the Commission and the respective PIO will be liable for penalty u/s 20 of the RTI Act. Read more ›