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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Delay in replying to RTI pleas costs MC officers R25,000

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  LUDHIANA, September 13, 2013
First Published: 18:09 IST(13/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:11 IST(13/9/2013)

Penalising them for causing inordinate delay in providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the state information commission has slapped a fine of Rs. 25,000 each on two officials of the municipal corporation.

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In the first case, state information commissioner Narinderjit Singh in his judgement on August 27, imposed fined MC public information officer (PIO)-cum-superintending engineer (SE) Dharam Singh for undue delay in providing information to Kuldeep Singh Khaira.

The information seeker had submitted an application to the PIO on August 2012 seeking certified sealed samples of the material used in the work pertaining to providing and laying of 80mm thick interlocking tiles of octagonal design and construction of footpaths on sides of Gill Road from Campa Cola Chowk to Sidhwan Canal.

However, the PIO refused to provide the information on the pretext that ongoing work had been stalled by the contractor due to the rainy season.

The first appellate authority, MC commissioner had also failed to pass any order in this case within prescribed time limit.

However, the PIO kept delaying the information sought, even as Surinder Pal Singh was placed as PIO in his place by the corporation.

Though, notice was also served to Surender Pal Singh in this connection, but was later dropped as he was not PIO at the time when RTI application was made. The information was provided to information seeker on August 22, after a gap of nine months of filing of application.

Finding merit in the complaint, the commission pronounced the penalty on SE Dharam Singh and has asked the municipal commissioner to deduce the amount from Singh's salary.

In the second case, state information commissioner Surinder Awasthi imposed a fine on PIO-cum-municipal town planner (MTP) Raj Kumar for delay in providing information to Rohit Sabharwal.

In this case, an RTI application was filed on July 12, 2012, but the PIO did not respond to the application till December 20, 2012, a delay of more than 100 days over and above the mandated period of 30 days.

Even as the information was provided between December 2012 and April 2013, an appeal against the delay in furnishing the information was filed with the commission. Consequently, a show cause notice was served to the PIO.

In his reply to the show cause notice, the PIO had contended that during this period he was collecting information as it was created from all four zones of the corporation. But PIO failed to keep the information seeker in loop about the status of his RTI query.

Based on the appeal, the commission had served a show cause notice to the PIO to explain about the delay in providing the information on June 24 this year. On August 14, the commission asked the PIO to reply categorically about the reason behind delay within five days, but the PIO failed to do so. Slamming him for taking lenient view of commission orders, the fine was imposed. Besides this, the commission also directed to pay Rs. 5,000 to information seeker for the inconvenience he faced.


 

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