CIC slaps maximum penalty on public info officer
New Delhi: In a rare order, the Central Information Commission has imposed maximum penalty prescribed under the RTI Act on its official for delay in furnishing information to an applicant.
RTI applicant Rajeev Sharma had sought information related to work allocation in the transparency panel from its public information, but the information which should have been provided by June 30, 2011 was provided on April 13 this year.
In his defence, public information officer K L Das states that the appellant`s file got mixed-up in the process of receiving and keeping these records and it could not be traced despite efforts.
An error was made in not sending the information, Das said, adding that similar situation exists in some other cases too.
Taking strict view of the delay in providing the details, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, "No information or communication was sent to the appellant and the information was finally sent to him only on April 13, 2012.
"At the very least the PIO should have informed the appellant that the relevant file was misplaced or untraceable. And either the file should have been located within reasonable time and the information provided or a police complaint should have been made for the loss of the said file."
The Information Commissioner said since information was provided after a year it appears that the file was available, but was not traced for many months and the public information did not give any reasonable cause for the delay.
"Since the delay in providing the information is over 100 days and no reasonable cause has been offered for the delay in providing the information the Commission under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act imposes the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 on K L Das, Public Information Officer and Deputy Secretary," Gandhi said.
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