(Querist) 12 February 2013
This query is : Resolved
Dear Experts, As and when a citizen brings to notice of State Information Commission that a PIO who is supposed to give information on his petition did not do so., The SIC issues orders to PIO to do so. In case of continued silence sic asks PIO why penalty cannot be levied on him. If PIO’S pleading is not satisfactory the SIC orders penalty. Who pays for penalty and to whom it is given?
(Expert) 12 February 2013
Penalty is imposed on PIO and the amount is being deposited in State or Central Information Commission's account for the delay caused to the Applicant. The Applicant is entitled to get compensation u/s 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act.
(Expert) 14 February 2013
Any fine ordered on tyhe PIO by the Information commission is to be recovered from the Pay of the Public authority/Public Information officer and remitted to Government account.This fine itself is not meant for compensation to the petitioner. There is no correlation between the compensation to the applicant and the fine imposed on the PIO.
(Querist) 14 February 2013
Dear Mr.Issac, I had since gone into few cases where in the PIOs slammed with penalties SICs had approached High Courts.As you had observed the courts are only asking the penalties to be paid out of salaries of PIOs to the Governments. I am yet to come across a case where in petitioner is compensated by SICs but if approached Consumer Forums are granting. In my case I made a request to SIC to take action on erring PIO but for relief I had approached Consumer Forum Thanks for all experts views.
Your contention that "There is no correlation between the compensation to the applicant and the fine imposed on the PIO." sounds correct as per the following order.
High Court of Delhi at New-Delhi - WP(C) No. 6661 of 2008, Decided on 16-04-2009, Union of India, Petitioner. Vs. Central Information Commission and others, Respondent CORAM: Hon. J. S. Ravindra Bhat 1. In this petition the Union of India was aggrieved by an order of the Central Information Commission whereby it directed payment of Rs. 5000/- as compensation to the second respondent, who had applied for information under the RTI Act.( For short the Act). The brief facts were that the second respondent applied to the Passport Officer for disclosure of information relating to a passport application made by him and his wife. The CPIO informed him that the delay was for want of fresh passport application along with attested copies of relevant documents. Feeling aggrieved Second respondent preferred appeal which was disposed of with the observation that even though no time limit for disposal of passport application existed, broadly a 30 days' limit had to be adhered to . Not satisfied with this order the second respondent appealed to the CIC. After considering the factual position the CIC awarded a compensation of Rs. 5000/- to second respondent in view of mental agony that has gone through over about 1 ½ years without any fault of his. It is against this order the Union of India preferred the present writ petition. 2. After hearing both sides and on perusal of provisions under the Act, the High Court held that jurisdiction to direct compensation under the Act has to be understood as arising in relation to culpability of organizations inability to respond suitably, in time or otherwise, to the information applicant. This is necessarily so, because penalty is imposed on the individual responsible for delayed response, or withholding of information without reasonable cause. To that extent the claim of Union of India about lack of jurisdiction of CIC in this case is justified.3. However, it was also observed that it is well settled that the jurisdiction under Article 226 is both discretionary and equitable. The existence of technical question and error of a jurisdiction need not persuade the Court to exercise such jurisdiction unless it is satisfied that the ends of justice require it to do so. By filing present petition, the Union of India has not only disclosed utter insensitivity to its duty as an authority under the Passport Act but also aggravated the agony to a citizen who sought for a passport and was kept completely in the dark. In these circumstances, even while allowing the writ petition to the extent that award of compensation of Rs. 5000 is set aside, the Union of India is hereby directed to pay cost to the second respondent to the extent of Rs. 55000/-. The same shall be paid within 4 weeks. With these directions the writ petition was disposed off.
(Expert) 14 February 2013
Dear Thyagarajan, Thank you for updating me.