The state information commission has pulled up the Haryana public relations (PR) and cultural affairs department, which is primarily meant to disseminate information, for its failure to provide information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The case pertains to an Ambala-based applicant who had sought from the state public information officer (SPIO) of the PR department about the outcome of an inquiry which had been ordered on his complaint in 2013 against the appointment of a photographer in the department. State information commissioner Samir Mathur in his order said that the perusal of the reply by SPIO displayed his helplessness in furnishing the most elementary information.
Stating that the commission was informed that the first reference was made on September 26, 2014, a reminder was given on October 22, 2014 and the second reminder on December 17, 2014, it said no information had been received from SPIO till February 19 this year.
“It is quite evident that the department has not been taking applications under RTI Act seriously,” the order read.
It added, “Perhaps, the lack of penalty on this department is the reason for this approach. There is no doubt that in this case, there has been slippage both in terms of time taken as well as the unwillingness to provide the information which amounts to denial of information…’’.
The order also noted that all the SPIOs be issued show cause notices for delay and denial of information under the RTI Act and they would be liable to pay a penalty of `250 per day subject to maximum of `25,000 under the provisions of section 20(1) of the RTI Act, 2005. The commission has listed the case of his show cause notice for April 6 and also asked all the SPIOs for their personal presence on that day.