JAMMU, July 11: State Information Commission has imposed a penalty of over Rs 24,000 on Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for delaying information to the appellant beyond the prescribed time-line.
The penalty proceedings were initiated against Dr Nazir Ahmad, Public Information Officer-cum-Chief Medical Officer Budgam on the basis of order passed by the State Information Commission on May 20, 2019 while disposing of 2nd Appeal titled Shah Farooq Versus First Appellate Authority in the office of Directorate of Health Services Kashmir and PIO/ CMO Budgam.
In the appeal, the appellant had contended that the PIO/ CMO has failed to provide information in respect to his RTI application dated November 16, 2018.The appeal was heard by the Commission on 17.04.2019 and 20.05.2019 respectively but the CMO did not attend any of the hearings before the Commission in spite of notices issued by the Commission for his appearance.
On 20.05.2019, the appellant Shah Farooq filed a written statement submitting that the PIO/CMO Budgam has provided the information partly on 20.03.2019 and partly on 08.04.2019. He prayed that penalty proceedings be initiated against PIO/CMO Budgam for not providing the information within the stipulated period under the provisions of the J&K RTI Act.
While disposing of the 2nd Appeal on 20.05.2019, Information Commissioner Mohammad Ashraf Mir directed the Registry to issue a show cause notice to PIO/CMO Budgam asking him to explain why penalties as envisaged under Section-17 of the J&K RTI Act shall not be imposed upon him for his failure to provide the information to the appellant within the specified period and also for his non-cooperation with the Commission in deciding the appeal and his failure in attending the consecutive hearings.
Accordingly, the Registry of the Commission issued show cause notice to PIO/CMO Budgam directing him to file his reply to the show cause notice within two weeks from the date of receipt of notice failing which action as warranted under law shall follow.
The PIO/CMO vide his communication dated 08.06.2019 filed his reply to the show cause notice and submitted that he has provided the information to the appellant. He, however, expressed regrets for not providing the information to the appellant within the stipulated period of time.
Vide another notice dated 01.07.2019 issued by the Registry of the Commission, the PIO/CMO Budgam was asked to appear before the Commission on 10th of July, 2019 to explain his position. However, the PIO did not cause his appearance when the penalty proceedings came up for hearing.
As per the provisions of J&K RTI Act, the Commission has imposed a penalty of Rs 24,750 upon Dr Nazir Ahmad, PIO/ CMO Budgam for delaying information to the appellant beyond the prescribed time period.
The DDO in the office of CMO Budgam has been directed to deduct an amount of Rs 24,750 from the salary of Dr Nazir Ahmad, PIO/CMO Budgam in three equal instalments commencing from the month of July 2019.
The District Treasury Officer Budgam has also been directed not to entertain any salary bills of CMO Budgam without ensuring that the amount of penalty is deducted by the concerned DDO from the salary of Dr Nazir Ahmad.
The Director General Accounts and Treasuries has also been directed to issue necessary instructions to the District Treasury Officer Budgam to implement the order of the Commission and file compliance report.