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Info panel report: 60-lakh penalty imposed on SPIOs for laxity under RTI Act

The commission also recommended disciplinary action against 383 delinquent officers for persistently failing to furnish information to applicants under the RTI Act within the specified time
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Rajesh Moudgil, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 20, 2020 11:15 PM IST

The Haryana information commission issued 2,511 show-cause notices for imposing penalty to state public information officers (SPIOs) and deemed SPIOs and imposed penalties amounting to over Rs 60.6 lakh in 305 cases in 2018.

This was disclosed in the 13th annual report of the Haryana information commission, which was tabled in the Vidhan Sabha on the opening day of the budget session on Thursday.

The report also pointed out laxity of these officials in most of the public authorities in providing information sought by applicants under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

The commission also recommended disciplinary action against 383 delinquent officers for persistently failing to furnish information to applicants under the RTI Act within the specified time or “malafidely” denied or knowingly gave incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed it.

The commission received over 68,000 applications in 2018, of which the access to information was withheld on account of exemption provision in 1,695 and 3,977 cases under Section 8 and 9, respectively, of the RTI Act. Thus the access to information was denied in about 8.29% of the total cases.

The report says that while 244 complaints were pending as on January 1, 2018, the number of complaints instituted during 2018 was 593. Of these 563 were decided.

There were 1,736 pending appeals as on January 1, 2018, while in 2018 the number of appeals instituted was 8,955 of which 8,364 were decided.

Interestingly enough, the commission which is required to prepare the annual report, also noted delay in furnishing of statistics by most of the public authorities as it got statistics from only 39 of the total over 100 main public authorities.

KEY FINDINGS

-Points out laxity in providing information sought by applicants under the Right to Information (RTI)

-Notes delay in furnishing of statistics by most of the public authorities

-Recommends disciplinary action against 383 delinquent officers for persistently failing to furnish information

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