Who can claim for penalty for delay in giving information
I would like to know on delay of giving information the penalty under section 20 of RTI ACT the fine amount is paid for information seeker or government
High court doubles penalty for delay in RTI info : Enhancing the penalty imposed for a 14-day delay in supplying information under the RTI Act, the Himachal Pradesh high court doubled the fine, holding that the state information commission (SIC) did not have any power to impose penalty other than that prescribed under the Right to Information Act, 2005. Allowing the petition of Sanjay Hindwan, a Solan resident, who pleaded his case in person, the division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol observed, "Once the SIC comes to the conclusion that penalty has to be imposed, then the same must be at Rs 250 per day and not at any other rate at the whims and fancy of the commission." The judges noted, "We find no provision in the Act which empowers the commission to either reduce or enhance the penalty." Taking cognizance of an order dated October 29, 2011 for a 14-day delay in disposing of an RTI application by public information officer (PIO)-cum-executive officer, municipal council, Solan, the state chief information commissioner had imposed a penalty of Rs 1,500 to be deposited in the state treasury. Finding itself in agreement with the petitioner, the bench said, "Penalty has to be imposed at rates fixed or no penalty has to be imposed." The question involved in this petition was whether the Central Information Commission or the SIC, as the case may be, has any power to impose penalty other than that prescribed in Section 20 of the Right to Information Act, 2005. For each day of delay in making available the information sought under RTI, the central or the state information commission, under the Act, is empowered to impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day with a caveat that the total amount of penalty should not exceed Rs 25,000. Increasing the penalty imposed on the erring PIO of Solan municipality from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,500, the court decreed that the balance Rs 2,000 be deposited in the government treasury within two weeks.
Imposition of Penalty : As pointed out above, an applicant under the Act has a right to appeal to the Central Information Commission and also to make complaint to the Commission. Where the Central Information Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer has without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished subject to the condition that the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees. The Central Public Information Officer shall, however, be given a reasonable opportunity of being herd before any penalty is imposed on him. The burden of proving that he acted reasonable and diligently and in case of denial of a request that such denial was justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer.
Advocate Srinivasa KudvaMalleshwaram, Bangalore
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