CIC imposes penalty on PHE Under Secretary

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 20: In a significant judgment, the State Chief Information Commissioner G R Sofi has imposed a penalty on Under Secretary PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Rattan Chand for his failure to provide information as PIO in reply to an RTI.
The Drawing and Disbursing Officer of Irrigation and FC Department will ensure deduction of penalty amount of Rs 7500 from the salary of Rattan Chand in two equal installments from the months of  December 2013 and January 2014 and remit it to the Government Account Head “0070-other administrative services” with an intimation to this Commission, ordered the CIC adding that  the DDO should submit a compliance report along with a copy of deduction certificate to the Commission within 5 days of the compliance.
The penalty of Rs 750 has been counted by imposing a fine of Rs 250 for each day from date of receipt of application to the sending note.
The action was taken by the CIC on second appeal of one Haji Nazir Ahmad Shah, who had filed an RTI application before the PIO Irrigation Department on July 7, 2012 seeking some information. Having failed to receive any information the appellant filed first appeal before the FAA on August 27, 2012 which also was not adjudicated following which a second appeal as provided under Section 16 of the State RTI Act was filed before this Commission on October 2, 2012.
During the hearing, penalty proceedings under Section 17 of the State RTI Act were initiated and PIO was required to explain why penalty may not be imposed on him from the due date of passing the order. In response to show cause notice, the defaulting PIO admitted of having received RTI application but held SO/HA for the delay. The Commission was also misled by PIO stating that information was sent by registered post whereas verification established that order was sent through ordinary post.

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