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RTI >> Judgments >> High Court >> Penalty
Supreme Court(Penalty)/ CIC(Penalty)
S.No. HIGH COURT CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 Writ Petition No. 1367 of 2012 (M/S) 03 Apr, 2018 Appellants: Arvind Kumar Lohani and Ors. Vs. Respondent: Uttarakhand State Information Commission and Ors.

RTI applicant sought certain information from the petitioners who are said to be Information Officers as appointed under the Act. The information regarding almost all the points, for which, the information was sought was answered, but still, the applicant feeling dissatisfied with the information provided preferred an Appeal before the Appellate Authority. The Departmental Appellate Authority/Commissioner had called upon the applicant to appear before the Appellate Authority and to put up his version in support of his appeal but he deliberately avoided to participate in the proceedings and he did not appear before the Departmental Appellate Authority. On account of non participation in the Appeal, the Appeal was dismissed by the. On the allegation of non-supply of the information as well as the Appellate Order, Second Appeal was filed before the Uttarakhand State Information Commissioner. The Second Appellate Authority directed to issue show cause notice against the Public Information Officer as to why a penalty may not be imposed against him. Simultaneously, there was also a direction to issue show cause notice against the Information Officer calling upon his explanation as to why an order may not be passed under Section 19(8)(ka) for directing to conduct a departmental inquiry against him. It is this order which was challenged by the petitioner No. 1 in his personal capacity by availing the professional services of the office of the Chief Standing Counsel and its machinery.
4. The issue which was for consideration before the Hon’ble High Court was whether on imposition of penalty on the Public Information Officer, as appointed under the Right to Information Act of 2005, the penalty provided u/s. 20, which happens to be a liability in persona could be challenged, by him in person, by availing the professional services of the Chief Standing Counsel and its machinery and state money can be used for the said purpose, contrary to the provisions and purpose of their appointments under Legal Remembrance Manual.
The present case was filed by the then Public Information Officer, who has been imposed upon a penalty u/s. 20 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the impugned order under challenge. He has preferred the writ petition against the impugned order, where a penalty of Rs. 10,000/- has been imposed upon him in his individual capacity.
The Court felt that once a penalty is imposed u/s. 20 of the RTI Act on the Information Officer, as constituted u/s. 5 of the Act, it would be the officer in person responsible for the penalty, as such, if the officer concerned feels aggrieved against the imposition of penalty and wants to agitate the cause before a superior court, he could do so in his individual capacity and for the said purpose, he can only file a writ petition after engaging a private counsel and not through an Additional Chief Standing Counsel or Chief Standing Counsel, as defined under the L.R. Manual. As such, this Court feels that this writ petition as preferred by the petitioner in his individual capacity could not have been filed through the office of the Chief Standing Counsel.
For the above reason the writ petition was dismissed on this ground itself, leaving it open for the petitioner to engage a private advocate and to file writ petition.
2 W.P. (C) 1882/2017 24 Apr, 2017 Harkrishan Das Nijhawan vs Satyavir Katar, CPIO, Delhi Police Licensing Unit & Ors.

Information Sought:
The petitioner had sought certain information from the respondents under the Act.

CPIO's Reply:
The information was denied.

CIC's Decision:
The CIC had directed that redacted information be provided. The petitioner has already received un-redacted information in a public interest litigation filed by the petitioner.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that view taken by the CIC is a plausible view. The application under section 20(1) of the Act is really between the CIC and CPIO. The CIC has rightly decided not to take any further action and the view taken by the CIC is a plausible view. No infirmity with the view taken by the CIC and find no ground to interfere with the order passed by the CIC.
3 W.P (C) 624/2017 24 Jan, 2017 B.B. Dash vs Central Information Commission & Anr.

Information Sought:
a) Please inform weather the above document and/or its contents are in the knowledge of ICAR Team at Headquarters at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi (Yes or NO)?
b) When did this document and/or its contents come into knowledge of ICAR Team at Headquarters at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi (DD/MM/YYYY)?
c) Please provide the copy-of covering letter under which this price of Rs 196.9733333 per unit was disclosed to ICAR Team at Headquarters at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi or to the appropriate financial body of ICAR?

CPIO's Reply:
The CPIO liable for not providing the information to the respondents. It has been held that the petitioner has failed to provide information without any cogent reasons.

CIC's Decision:
The CIC came to the conclusion that the nature of his replies, to various queries showed that these were meant to circumvent the queries raised by the Complainant in her application, which amounted to wilful denial of information.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that perusal of the impugned order shows that the CIC has not erred in returning a finding that information sought has not been provided to the respondent No. 2. No cogent explanation has been rendered for non-supply of the information. Thus, the order of the CIC cannot be faulted.
4 CWP No. 658 of 2016 18 Nov, 2016 Sunil Chopra vs Chief Information Commissioner and Ors.

Information Sought:
The information sought from the then SPIO-cum-District Registrar, Firms and Societies, Panchkula

CPIO's Reply:
The penalty was imposed on the ground that he failed to take action, and only when respondent-Commission issued notice to him, information was supplied.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that the burden of proof was also upon the petitioner under the second proviso of which he has failed to discharge that he had acted reasonably and diligently, from August, 2014 onwards. He had only acted when the directions were initially issued on 5 March, 2015. In such circumstances, as noticed, he also chose to refrain from appearing on two occasions before the Commission, and also before the first appellate authority. In such facts and circumstances, this Court does not feel that it is a fit case for interference by this court with the orders passed by the respondent-Commission which led to the imposition of penalty.
5 CWP No. 1220 of 2016 24 Oct, 2016 The Boparai Kalan Cooperative Multi Purpose Agricultural Service Society Ltd. vs The State Information Commission, Punjab and Ors.

Sunil Chopra vs Chief Information Commissioner and Ors.

Information Sought:
The information sought from
the then SPIO-cum-District Registrar, Firms and Societies, Panchkula

CPIO's Reply:
The penalty was imposed on the ground that he failed to take action, and only when respondent-Commission issued notice to him, information was supplied.

Final Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that the burden of proof was also upon the petitioner under the second proviso of which he has failed to discharge that he had acted reasonably and diligently, from August, 2014 onwards. He had only acted when the directions were initially issued on 5 March, 2015. In such circumstances, as noticed, he also chose to refrain from appearing on two occasions before the Commission, and also before the first appellate authority. In such facts and circumstances, this Court does not feel that it is a fit case for interference by this court with the orders passed by the respondent-Commission which led to the imposition of penalty.
6 CWP No. 9185 of 2015 18 Oct, 2016 Desh Raj Whadwa vs State Information Commission, Haryana & Ors.

Information Sought:
The then SPIO had brought to the notice of the respondent-Commission that there was no intentional delay on his account and the RTI application was dealt with originally by his predecessor, who was placed under suspension and therefore, he was not at fault and in these circumstances, the show cause notice had been dropped.

FAA Decision:
The directions had been issued by the First Appellate Authority to provide the information on the application pertaining to supply of ration card etc. and various details as to deletion / addition etc. in the entries made in the ration cards.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that under section 20, the respondent Commission had to come to the conclusion that there was a mala fide denial, as such, or somebody had given incorrect / incomplete / misleading information on account of which, penalty had to be imposed. It has been noticed that the earlier officer had been placed under suspension and therefore, proceedings against the subsequent SPIO were, accordingly, dropped. In such circumstances, this Court is of the opinion that the order, does not suffer from any infirmity which would warrant interference under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
7 CWP No. 19540 of 2016 (O&M) 21 Sep, 2016 Scientific Awareness & Social Welfare Forum vs State of Punjab and Anr.

Information Sought:
The petition has been filed in the nature of a public interest for directing the respondents, i.e. the State of Punjab and the State Information Commission, Punjab, Chandigarh to implement the RTI Act in its true spirit so that the purpose of the same is not defeated. The petitioner submitted that section 20 of the RTI Act is not being implemented.

CPIO's / SPIO's Reply:
Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty five thousand rupees.

CIC's Decision:
Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission showing that the opinion formed by it is not proper or that there has been an infraction of Section 20 of the RTI Act.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that the it is for the Central Information Commission or the State Commission, as the case may be, in the facts and circumstances of each case to form an opinion and impose the penalty in case of default and an omnibus direction is not liable to be issued by this Court to impose penalty in each and every case. Besides, the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission exercises statutory jurisdiction and functions and there being no list or material before us from which it can be said that either the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission has improperly exercised its jurisdiction or failed to exercise it in an appropriate case, it would be difficult to pass any such direction. Petitioner Forum is not liable to be allowed to litigate lightly in the name of public interest which may cause damage to the others. No merit in the petition and the same is dismissed.
8 CWP No. 24954 of 2014 05 Aug, 2016 O.P. Kajal vs State Information Commission, Haryana and Anr.

Information Sought:
Review of the earlier order by the State Information Commission whether tenable?

CPIO's Reply:
The information available on record had already been furnished and there was no malafide intention to conceal the information and there was reasonable ground to condone the delay.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that in the absence of the review, the earlier orders could not have been modified by the impugned order. It is settled principle that review is a creature of the statute. Even otherwise as noticed from the facts above that the petitioner was aggrieved against then on implementation of the earlier order, but the Commission choose to withdraw the relief already granted. In such circumstances, the impugned order cannot be justified and same is quashed. The respondent Commission shall re-decide the issue, why the order had not been complied with for which the show cause notice had been issued.
9 CWP No. 14464 OF 2016 (O&M) 03 Aug, 2016 A.N. Chauhan vs Pardeep Bhardwaj & Anr.

Information Sought:
Petitioner challenges the order passed by the State Information Commission under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

CPIO's / SPIO's Reply:
SPIO, had delayed furnishing information. The information was only furnished after a delay of more than 5 months.

CIC's / SIC's Decision:
The Commission has imposed a penalty of Rs.25,000/- upon him, to be recovered in 5 equal instalments.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the penalty levied, is as per the provisions of section 20, as a finding has been recorded that there was a mala fide denial of the information. Even if the period is counted from the 01.01.2016, then also, information has not been supplied for over 4 months and thus, there is no scope for reduction of penalty also. The question before this Court is that whether the penalty imposed vide the impugned order is justified or not. Thus, no fault can be found in the impugned order which would warrant interference.
10 W.P. (MD) No. 4510 of 2016 21 Apr, 2016 A.Kanagaraj Vs The Tamil Nadu State Information Commissioner, O/o. The State Information Commission, No. 2, Thiyagaraya Salai Road, Teynampet, Chennai

Information Sought:
This Writ Petition has been filed challenging the impugned order. The petitioner, he has sought information under the Right to Information Act before the authority concerned but the same was not provided.

CPIO's / SPIO's Reply:
The Appellate Authority wherein also the information sought by the petitioner has not been provided.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Madras held that the explanation offered was correct as they have very clearly point out that insofar as the first officer is concerned within the stipulated time he has initiated action to give information but in the meantime he retired. The second officer is concerned; he was able to prove before the authority concerned that the information sought for is too much which could not be collected within the stipulated time. The authority having convinced that the information officers have not committed any offence that cannot now be challenged by the petitioner on the ground that the punishment was not imposed.
11 CWP 6063-2013 05 Apr, 2016 Sukhdev Singh Vs. The State Information commission, Punjab & Ors.

The only argument raised by learned counsel for the petitioner is that the action initiated in the impugned order is contrary to the provisions of Section 20(1) of the Act, wherein it is provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him.

In the present case, notice as required under Section 20(1) of the Act, has not been given to the petitioner and notice which was alleged to have been given on 8.8.2012 does not satisfy Section 20(1) 1st proviso of the Act. The impugned order is, thus, held to be totally illegal, having been passed in violation of Section 20(1) of the Act and, hence, the same is set aside. The matter is remanded back to the State Information Commission, Punjab to decide it again after giving opportunity of hearing to the petitioner as prescribed under Section 20(1) of the Act. The entire exercise should be completed within two months from the date of passing of the order.
12 W.P. (C) 1764/2016 04 Mar, 2016 S.D. Wadhwa Vs. CPIO O/O Registrar, Cooperative Societies, N. Delhi

Information Sought:
The petition has been filed by a counsel on the ground that four affected members are near and dear relatives of his.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that the petitioner-counsel may be closely related to the information seekers, yet that would not give him a locus standi to file a petition under section 20 of the RTI Act. Moreover, a Division Bench of this Court in Anand Bhushan vs R.A. Haritas, LPA 777/2010 decided on 29th March, 2012 has held that an information seeker has no locus in penalty proceedings under section 20 of the Act. It was further held in the said judgement imposition of penalty is not mandatory in each and every case.
13 W.P. (C) No. 28443 of 2008 (J) 19 Jun, 2015 S. Sunil Das Vs. State Information Commission, Punnan Road, Thiruvananthapuram

Information Sought:
a) The State Information Commission, by the impugned order, levied the maximum penalty of Rs.25,000/- [Rupees twenty five thousand only] for the reason of the delay caused in providing the information.
b) True copy of the petition dated 27.02.2008.

CPIO's Reply:
Delay in providing information.


CIC's / SIC's Decision:
The State Information Commission, by the impugned order, levied the maximum penalty of Rs.25,000/- [Rupees twenty five thousand only] for the reason of the delay caused in providing the information.

Decision by High Court:
The explanation for the delay caused, the petitioner has submitted before the Commission that the information sought was with respect to a remittance made nine years back by the then Sub Inspector of Police, Karunagappilly. The petitioner had to trace out the records, which were not available even in the Court. The petitioner, the Circle Inspector of Police, was also concerned with the law and order situation within his circle. It was, hence, there was a delay in giving the information. In any event, as found earlier by this Court the information was not one which could have been furnished by the petitioner, the Public Information Officer under the Act. In such circumstance, Exhibit P8 order to the extent it imposed penalty is set aside. The petitioner shall file an application to the authority before whom he remitted Rs.10,000/- [Rupees ten thousand only] as per the interim order of this Court dated 24.09.2008. On receipt of the application, the authority shall refund the amounts as expeditiously as possible.
14 W.P. (C) 8041/2014 27 Apr, 2015 MANIRAM SHARMA versus CIC & ANR

Information Sought:
This is a writ petition whereby a challenge is laid to the communication issued by the designated officer of the Central Information Commission.

CIC's / SIC's Decision:
RTI Act suggests that the power conferred on the CIC and the State Information Commissions to levy penalty is circumscribed by the provisions of Section 20 and the ingredients contained therein.

Decision by High Court:
It was held that the complainant cannot as a matter of right claim audience in the penalty proceedings which are between the CIC and the erring information officer.
15 LPA 444/2012 & CM No. 10451/2012 (For stay) 27 Feb, 2015 PREM LATA CPIO TRADE MARKS REGISTRY, DELHI Vs. CIC

Prem Lata, CPIO, TRADE MARKS REGISTRY, DELHI Vs. CIC

Information Sought:
The writ petition from which this appeal arises, was filed impugning the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) under the Right to Information Act, 2005

CIC's / SIC's Decision:
The order of the CIC under the RTI Act, in exercise of powers under Section 20(2) of the RTI Act, recommending disciplinary action against the appellant in her capacity as the CPIO of the Trade Marks Registry, Delhi and in exercise of powers under Section 20(1) imposing penalty of Rs.25,000/- on the appellant and further issuing notices to show cause under Section 20(1) of the Act to the appellant, was challenged.

Final Decision by High Court:
The Court held that it is incumbent on the CIC to hold whether the information requested for, was required to be furnished or not and without deciding so, penalty could not have been imposed.
Total Case uploaded: 41