The Punjab Information Commission on Thursday slapped a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh on Punjab Technical University (PTU) assistant registrar-cum-public information officer (PIO) for denying information regardin g admissions at the Jalandhar-based university to an appellant for more than a year.
The commission imposed penalty of Rs 25,000 each in six cases related to PTU assistant registrar Kishore Luthra, directing the vice-chancellor to deduct the amount in instalments from Luthra’s salary every month.
“...Luthra has denied information to Sadhu Ram Kusla so that the latter could not have access to those documents which would unveil the multi-crore scam of PTU,” information commissioner Chander Parkash said in his judgment.
The order further stated that Luthra took “a retrograde and whimsical step and made a strong attempt to bulldoze the right of the information-seeker to enjoy the benefits of a transparent law to expose corruption.”
The senior PTU official was also convicted of denying information deliberately as he was well aware that it was the only option to save the PTU authorities from the consequences of unveiling the scam.
Starting from February 2016, Rs 5,000 would be deducted every month from Luthra’s salary by the PTU vice-chancellor and the officer/official concerned who deals with the making of salary bills and payments to Luthra, the order said.
The appellant, Sadhu Ram Kusla, had sought semester-wise information regarding the number of students to whom roll numbers were issued by PTU and the total amount of admission fee required to be deposited by these students as per course modules from the academic session beginning September 2005 to March 2014 under the distance education programme for learning centres shown at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
The list of learning centres, for which the information was requested, was also attached with the application filed under the RTI for the information required.