New Delhi: The Delhi government has asked its officials to refrain from repeatedly transferring RTI applications which results in delayed response and warned that
non-compliance of it may result in "heavy penalty".
The order comes on a letter written by Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi to Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta saying that RTI Act provides for only one transfer within five days if the information sought is not held by the Central Public Information Officer who received the application.
Gandhi has observed RTI applications were being transferred from one official to another which was making it difficult to fix the responsibility of the erring officer in
case information was not provided within 30 days as mandated under the transparency law.
"I have come across several cases in which officers of various departments of the GNCTD are wrongly applying section 5(4) and section 5(5) of the RTI Act... take appropriate steps to ensure that officers of all departments of the CNCTD are
made aware of the correct application of these provisions," Gandhi wrote.
Both sections deal with "seeking assistance", by the CPIO, of other officers in processing of RTI applications.
Gandhi has said CPIO should decide who is the correct official to whom the application should be transferred else he would be liable for the delay.
"Even if he did seek assistance, he would be the person responsible to provide information on time and would be liable for penalty in case he does not give information within the stipulated time. If the CPIO has wrongly identified the second person and the second person is not the custodian of the record, it is the responsibility of second person to return the RTI application to the CPIO," Gandhi said.
"Non compliance of these instructions may attract heavy penalty," Arvind Ray, Secretary (AR) of Delhi Government wrote to all the officials.
According to transparency law, if an official does not provide information to an applicant within 30 days, he or she may be fined at the rate of Rs 250 per day from the time the
information became due to the time it was provided subject to maximum of Rs 25,000.