CIC pulls up PIO for delaying information
The information seeker is represented by his counsel Nonu Khere, learned Advocate. The PIO did not attend the hearing inspite of informing him well in advance about his presence before the Commission on 25.052011. He has preferred not to attend before the Commission. His failure to appear without any intimation and any reason before the Commission is highly unbecoming of an officer and an authority appointed under the Act. He is advised to be careful in future otherwise the Commission will proceed under the provisions of the Act and suggest disciplinary action against such erring officers.
The information seeker’s request has ultimately been responded vide Additional DC Jammu’s Communication No. ADC/Adm/PS/10-11/296 dated 8.5.2010. I have gone through this communication and I find that the PIO has miserably failed to act in accordance with the mandate given to him under section 7 of the State RTI Act 2009. As per the PIO is an independent authority and has to decide the information seeker’s request independently without seeking any direction from his superior authority or without getting influenced by his superior. The PIO clearly mentions in his order that he was passing the order in accordance with the directions obviously received from his superior authority which is in clear violations of the provisions of the Act. Nonu Khera, Learned Advocate has further submitted before the Commission that even this information which is supposedly conveyed through the above mentioned communication does not meet the requirements of his application seeking information as the communication sent by the Additional DC Jammu to the information seeker is not in accordance with the provisions of the Act. After taking all the facts into account I am convinced that the order passed by the PIO is not a speaking and well reasoned order. Accordingly it would be in the fitness of the things to set aside the said order and remand back the same to the PIO to be passed de novo after providing an opportunity to the information seeker within 15 days. He is also advised that his order should bear his name and designation along with the fact that he is PIO and he is passing order under section 7 of the State RTI Act 2009. The PIO is also directed to explain why penalty may not be imposed for not responding to the information seeker’s request under section 6 of the State RTI Act 2009 within the prescribed time. The PIO is also directed to explain why disciplinary proceeding as laid down in section 17(2) of the State RTI Act 2009 read with rule 45 (1) © of the State RTI Rules 2010 may not be initiated for failing to discharge his duties cast on him under the State RTI Act 2009. His reply should reach this commission within 20 days from the pronouncement of the order.
The information seeker has also has brought to my notice that he has been charged Rs. 100/- as the application fee for providing information. Initially he has applied on a non-judicial stamp paper which fulfills the requirements of being the fee. But later on he was directed by the office of PIO to deposit another Rs. 50/- in the shape of postal Order. This again is in clear violations of the provisions of the Act. The PIO is directed to refund back the extra fee charged from the information seeker. The PIO is further advised to go through carefully the provisions of the State RTI Act 2009 read with RTI Rule 2010.
The information seeker has also drawn my attention to the provisions of the selection 16 clause 9 sub-clauses (b) which provides for providing compensation by the public authority to the complaint i.e Baldev Singh for any loss or other determent suffered. The Commission directs the complaint to prove how the delay in providing of the information to him proved detrimental and ultimately lead to cause a loss. The public authority i.e Deputy Commissioner,
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