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RTI >> Judgments >> High Court >> Penalty
Supreme Court(Penalty)/ CIC(Penalty)
S.No. HIGH COURT CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
16 LPA 444/2012
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27 Feb, 2015 Prem Lata, CPIO, Trade Marks Registry vs Central Information Commission & Ors.

Section 20(1) Levy of Penalty. Section 20(2) Recommendation of penalty proceedings against the CPIO. Whether the information which has suo motu been made available by a public authority through various means of information including internet in fulfillment of its obligation under section 4 of the RTI Act, can be requested for under section 6 of the RTI Act? The appellant has been held guilty of, for not providing the information which was required to be furnished by her as CPIO, for the reason of information having already been placed in public domain i.e. on the website of the Trade Marks Registry. The CIC in this regard has held that it does not concern the CIC, as to whether or not the RTI applicant already had the information which he was seeking through the mode of RTI Act and the only concern was that the appellant as CPIO ought to have replied within 30 days of receipt of the RTI application, irrespective of any other extraneous facts and circumstances. It was further held that it was open for the appellant as CPIO to intimate the said reason to the RTI applicant within 30 days but the appellant having not done so had without any reasonable cause and persistently failed to furnish the information within the time prescribed. The CIC imposed penalty of 25,000/- as well as recommended disciplinary proceedings against the CPIO. The Single Judge of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi dismissed the writ petition filed by the appellant.

The Division Bench of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that if it were to be held that information already made available under section 4 will have to be again provided under sections 6 & 7, it will on the one hand not advance the legislative intent in any way and on the other hand may allow misuse of the provisions of the Act for extraneous reasons and allowing harassment of CPIOs by miscreants. The only interpretation can be, that the public authority is neither required to provide such information nor required to reject the request on the ground of the information having already suo motu been made available. The reason for which the appellant claimed to have not dealt with the request i.e. of the information having already been made available suo motu and being in public domain, does not find mention in section 8 or 9 of the Act and the request for information was thus not required to be rejected also, under section 7 of the Act. Unfortunately, neither the CIC nor the learned Single Judge have returned any finding on whether the information so requested for had in fact been made available by the Trade Marks Registry suo motu. No means of knowing whether the said defence of the appellant for not dealing with the request, was on merits thereof correct or not. It was necessary for the CIC to decide the said aspect and without deciding which it could not have held that the appellant, without any reasonable cause, failed to furnish the information. The factum of the information sought having already suo motu been made available to public at large, would be a reasonable cause for neither furnishing the information nor required to be rejected. Before imposing any penalty under sections 20(1) or 20(2) of the Act, 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. Thus, the orders of the CIC affirmed by the learned Single Judge are liable to be set aside on this ground alone.
17 W.P. (C) 6088/2014 & CM Nos. 14799/2014, 14800/2014 & 14801/2014
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12 Sep, 2014 Ministry of Railways vs Girish Mittal

Information sought:
The petitioners have assailed the impugned order dated 11.03.2013 contending that the CIC erred in imposing penalty pursuant to proceedings that had been filed by the respondent directly before the CIC without approaching the First Appellate Authority (FAA).

CPIO's Reply:
CPIO had transferred his application to concerned departments.

CIC's Decision:
CIC held that information sought by the respondent had not been provided and earlier orders of the CIC had also not been complied with.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble Court held that certain information which was not provided to respondent would be available with the Railway Board and the CPIO was required to furnish the same. He cannot escape his responsibility to provide the information by simply stating that the queries were forwarded to other officials. Undeniably, the directions of CIC were not complied with.

18 W.P. (C) 2258/2012 and CM Appeal 4845/2012
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20 Feb, 2014 Union of India Vs Praveen Gupta

Union of India Vs Praveen Guptam

Information Sought:
1. What steps has been taken by the Ministry to improve Hindi Language give details.
2. What steps has been taken by the Ministry to made Hindi as National Language. What kind of work is being done by your Ministry in Hindi. How much percentage of work is being done in Hindi.
3. Provide details of steps taken by the ministry to improve and develop India Culture.
4. Provide copy of citizen charter.

CPIO's Reply:
Delay in providing information.


CIC's / SIC's Decision:
The CIC has imposed penalty on the PIO on the ground that the information had been supplied after lapse of hundred days instead of prescribed period of thirty days.


Final Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that keeping in view the width and amplitude of the queries sought for by the respondent, this Court is of the view that same could not have been reasonably disclosed within a period of thirty days. If the limited manpower and resources of the Ministry of External Affairs are devoted to address such meaningless and vague queries, this Court is of the opinion that the office of the Ministry of External Affairs would come to a standstill.
19 W.P.(C) 2258/2012
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20 Feb, 2014 Union of India vs Praveen Gupta

Section 20(1) Levy of Penalty. The applicant filed an RTI application and sought the following information:
1. What steps has been taken by the Ministry to improve Hindi Language give details.
2. What steps has been taken by the Ministry to made Hindi as National Language. What kind of work is being done by your Ministry in Hindi. How much percentage of work is being done in Hindi.
3. Provide details of steps taken by the ministry to improve and develop India Culture.
4. Provide copy of citizen charter.
5. Provide copy of annual report
6. Steps being taken by the ministry for NGOs, Media provide details. Copy of orders notification issued in respect to this.
7. What all facilities being given to the NGOs, Media etc.
8. Copy of rules by which these facilities are being given.
9. Provide copy of advertisement rules for empanelment.
10. Provide of telephone directory.
11. Provide copies of all PSUs.
12. Provide copies of complaints disposal rules.
13. Provide tails and location of next World Hindi Sammellan.
14. Provide copy of list of committees, samitees formed by the Ministry.

The CIC had imposed penalty on the PIO on the ground that the information had been supplied after lapse of hundred days instead of prescribed period of thirty days.

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that keeping in view the width and amplitude of the queries sought for by the respondent, this Court is of the view that same could not have been reasonably disclosed within a period of thirty days. If the limited manpower and resources of the Ministry of External Affairs are devoted to address such meaningless and vague queries, this Court is of the opinion that the office of the Ministry of External Affairs would come to a standstill.
20 WPC No. 83/2014
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03 Feb, 2014 Dr. Neelam Bhalla Vs. UOI & Ors

Information Sought:
Inaccurate and incorrect information to the appellant.

CPIO's Reply:
Shri Bundela was not the holder of information. The holder of information was CPIO, RAC. Whatever information was forwarded to Shri Bundela by CPIO, RAC, he transmitted the same to the appellant.

CIC's Decision:
DRDO is an exempted organization under section 24 of the RTI Act. This exemption is unequivocal and binding. DRDO does not fall under the ambit of RTI Act.
21 WP No. 4564 of 2013
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07 Jan, 2014 K.R. Kotkar Junior College, Jalgaon vs SIC, Nashik & Ors.

Information Sought:
Recommendations for disciplinary action the CPIO or the SPIO as the case may be, under the service Rules applicable

CPIO's Reply:
Information not supplied within specified period.

CIC's Decision:
The SIC imposed the penalty and directed to initiate disciplinary action against the PIO

Final Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay held that only because within 30 days information was not supplied could not have been a ground to direct disciplinary action against petitioners and imposition of fine and the explanation given ought to have been considered by the authority. In the light of the above, the clauses 2 and 4 of the operative order passed by the Second Appellate Authority impugned in the present writ petition are quashed and set aside.

22 W.P. No. 7671 of 2013
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07 Jan, 2014 Suhas vs SIC, Nashik & Ors.

Information Sought:
The limited grievance made by the petitioner is with regard to observations made by the Second Appellate Authority recommending administrative action against the petitioner.

Second Appellate Authority Reply:
The order was passed by the Second Appellate Authority, the petitioner was not working as the Appellate Authority and Joint District Registrar Class – I, Ahmednagar.

Decision by High Court:
Supply necessary information within a period of one (1) month. The observations made against the petitioner recommending administrative action are quashed and set aside. Supply the necessary information within a period of one (1) month from today. The observations made against the petitioner recommending administrative action are quashed and set aside.

23 Writ Petition No. 4900/2013
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13 Nov, 2013 Kashiram V.S. State Information Commission, Amravati Bench, Amravati & Ors.

Information Sought:
The petitioner impugns an order of the State Information Commissioner dated 20/06/2013 allowing a second appeal filed by the respondent No.3 and directing the respondent No.2 to initiate disciplinary action against the petitioner and report compliance of the said order to the State Information Commissioner within a period of three months.

CPIO's Reply:
The respondent No.3 had made an application to the Zilla Parishad on 12/08/2010 seeking certain information under the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2005.

CIC's / SIC's Decision:
SIC directed the respondent No. 2 the Chief Executive Officer (Primary), Zila Parishad Washim to initiate disciplinary action against the petitioner and furnish a report in compliance of the order to the SIC whether SIC can direct the disciplinary action against the PIO if he has malafidely denied the request for information or has not supplied the information within time specified?

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay held that the SIC had asked the petitioner to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on the petitioner, it was necessary for the Commission to have considered the explanation tendered by the petitioner. It appears from the impugned order that though reference is made to the explanation tendered by the petitioner in the same, the Commission has not given any thought to the explanation. The provisions of section 20(2) give jurisdiction to the SIC to only recommend disciplinary action against the PIO if he has malafidely denied the request for information or has not supplied the information within time specified in sub-section (1) of section 7. The Commission could not have directed the holding of the enquiry against the petitioner and could not have sought the compliance report within a period of three months. Specially, when the Commissioner has jurisdiction under section 20(2) of the Act to only make a recommendation and not issue directions to the authorities. Petition allowed.
24 W.P. No. 4900/2013
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13 Nov, 2013 Kashiram vs State Information Commission, Amravati Bench

Section 20(2) Recommendations from disciplinary action against the CPIO or the SPIO as the case may be, under the service Rules applicable. The respondent No.3 filed an application to the Zilla Parishad seeking certain information. Respondent No. 3 filed a second appeal before the SIC and the SIC directed the respondent No. 2, the Chief Executive Officer (Primary), Zilla Parishad, Washim to initiate disciplinary action against the petitioner and furnish a report in compliance of the order to the SIC. Whether SIC can direct the disciplinary action against the PIO if he has malafidely denied the request for information or has not supplied the information within time specified?

The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay held that the SIC was not justified in directing the respondent No. 2 to initiate an enquiry against the petitioner and report compliance of the order within a period of three months. Since, the SIC had asked the petitioner to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on the petitioner, it was necessary for the Commission to have considered the explanation tendered by the petitioner. It appears from the impugned order that though a reference is made to the explanation tendered by the petitioner in the same, the Commission has not given any thought to the explanation. The provisions of section 20(2) give jurisdiction to the SIC to only recommend disciplinary action against the PIO if he has malafidely denied the request for information or has not supplied the information within time specified in sub-section (1) of section7. The Commission could not have directed the holding of the enquiry against the petitioner and could not have sought the compliance report within a period of three months, specially when the Commissioner has jurisdiction under section 20(2) of the Act to only make a recommendation and not issue directions to the authorities. Petition allowed.
25 C.W.P. 8794/2011-J
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06 Mar, 2013 Ved Prakash Vs. State Information Commission, Himachal Pradesh & Ors.

Information Sought:
The petitioner has submitted an application for supply of documents under the Right to Information Act, 2005

CPIO's Reply:
The Panchayat Shayak, Gram Panchayat Khanyara informed the Block Development Officer, Dharamshala that the photo copies of the documents were being supplied to the petitioner. Photo copies of the documents were also annexed with letter, dated 23.04.2010.

CIC's Decision:
The State Information Commissioner, Himachal Pradesh instead of taking action against respondents No. 3 and 4, has disposed of the appeal by observing that since the letters were never entered in the records of the office and were reported to have been misplaced by the Pradhan at that time, its supply at that time was not possible. It was also observed that on the same ground the appeal has been rejected by the appellate authority.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Himachal Pradesh held that respondent no.3 and 4 have not supplied the information within the period prescribed under section 7 of the Act and have knowingly given incorrect and misleading information. The respondent no.4, in addition to this, has also destroyed the information and has also obstructed the supply of information to the petitioner. It was the duty of respondent No.4 to supply the information as per sub-section (5) of section 5 of the Act, but he has failed to do so. the respondent no.1 besides imposing penalty upon respondent No.3 and 4, ought to have awarded compensation to the petitioner. A penalty of Rs. 10,000/- each is imposed upon respondent no.3 for supplying knowingly incorrect information and respondent no.4 for knowingly giving incorrect and misleading information, destruction of information and obstructing the information. The petitioner is also held entitled to compensation of Rs.50,000/- for the loss and detriment suffered by him to be paid proportionately by respondents No.3 and 4.
26 W.P. (C) 9896/2009 & CM Appl. 8150/2009
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24 Feb, 2013 Chief Secretary Govt. of N.C.T. of Delhi & Ors. Vs. Rajeev Bharti & Ors.

Information Sought:
The present writ petition has been filed challenging the orders dated 26th May, 2009 and 18th June, 2009 passed by the Central Information Commission.

CIC's Decision:
The petitioner states that CIC failed to appreciate that the RTI application was a motivated one inasmuch as respondent No. 1 was insisting on his reinstatement. He further points out that the queries raised by respondent No. 1 were rather wide and it was impossible for any department to furnish the entire information asked for.

Decision by High Court:
The High Court of Delhi held that queries raised by respondent No.1 were rather wide and it was impossible for any department to furnish the entire information asked for. The queries included not only furnishing of certified copy of the charge sheet, but also the list of nominees of the Directors of respondent No.2-school and whether they attended the meetings as well as reports prepared by these persons and whether any proceedings had been intimated against those persons for not sending brief reports and as to whether the school management had defined any rule while filling up the vacant seats. Keeping in view the nature of queries, this Court is of the view that no reasonable person could have concluded that there was deliberate intent on the part of petitioner No.3 not to furnish the information. Consequently, the said finding being perverse is set aside and CIC order dated 18th June, 2009 imposing penalty of Rs.25,000/- is set aside.
27 W.P.Nos. 3776 - 3777 of 2013, W.P.NO.3778/2013
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18 Feb, 2013 P.Jayasankar, C.Selvaraj President Association of Transparency & Anti Corruption Vs. Chief Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu Fort St.George Chennai

Section 20 shows that it obliges a reasonable opportunity of being heard by the Commission on the question of penalty and in recommending initiation of disciplinary proceedings. It also requires the Commission to form an opinion about the conduct of an Information Officer. Therefore, it involves a separate action by the Commission against the officer concerned so that they can put forth their defence either about their bona fides or plead for minimum penalty.Unless the officer concerned is personally notified with the proposal of the Commission to impose a maximum penalty together with a direction to recommend disciplinary action, imposition of penalty may not be legally valid.
28 W.P. 3776-8/13
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18 Feb, 2013 P. Jayasankar & Ors. Vs. Chief Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu, Fort St. George, Chennai & Ors.

Information Sought:
Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for a Writ of Mandamus to the 1st respondent to institute disciplinary proceedings against the 2nd respondent apart from imposing the cash penalty

CPIO's Reply:
The petitioner stating that the application sent by the petitioner was not received by the office of the Director General of Police and also the Public Information Officer.

CIC's Decision:
The Commission has issued notice to the Public Information Officer and on receipt of the reply from the said authority, the Commission is yet to pass final orders. In the first two Writ Petitions, as against the first order, the petitioner had second round of litigation and finally the Commission was forced to blacklist the petitioner from filing any further information with the Commission and with a direction that the petitions made by the petitioner should not be entertained. This was on the specific finding that the Information seeker has misbehaved during the first sitting and had made defamatory and insinuating remarks.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Madras held that: No information seeker can be allowed to insinuate or defame the Commissioners in the guise of prosecuting their cases. When specific power is vested on the Commissioner and the Commission had proceeded against the information seeker, who had abused the Chief Information Commissioner in the course of his proceedings, it will be open to the said authority to disqualify a particular information seeker by passing a speaking order.
29 W.P. 18653 (w)/2009
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03 Jan, 2013 Madhad Kumar Bandhopadhyay Vs. The State Chief Information Commissioner etc. & Ors.

Information Sought:
The petitioner in this WP under art.226 of the Constitution of India dated October 29, 2009 is questioning an order of the West Bengal Information Commission imposing on him Rs.25,000 penalty under s.20(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

CPIO's Reply:
The State Public Information Officer of the Municipality did not do anything.

CIC's Decision:
The Commission heard the petitioner and held that he was liable to suffer Rs.25,000 penalty.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta held that in all cases mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 20, it is the duty of the Commission to impose an Rs.250/- daily penalty till the application for information is received or the information is given. The only thing is that the total penalty amount should not exceed Rs.25,000/-. The proportionality principle based on the gravity of the proven charge concept cannot apply to a case under section 20 as that will amount to unauthorized reduction of the penalty amount. A section 20 case can be a case of penalty or no penalty, but not a case of reduced penalty. I am, therefore, of the view that Commission has committed no wrong, and that the impugned order is not vitiated by any jurisdictional error.
30 W.P. (C) : 11271/2009
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01 Jun, 2012 Registrar of Companies & Ors Vs. Dharmendra Kumar Garg & Ans

Information Sought:
The respondent querist sought certain information from the petitioner by filing an application under the provision of the RTI Act. The petitioners contended that the information sought by the respondent querist can be obtained by resorting to section 610 of the Companies Act by paying the requisite fees and a citizen cannot by-pass the procedure and avoid paying the charges prescribed for accusing the information. On the other hand, the submission of the respondent-querist is that the provisions of the RTI Act have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act 1923 or Companies Act 1956. Therefore, argued that a citizen has an option to seek information from the ROC, either by resort to Section 610 of the Companies Act or by resort to the provisions of the RTI Act — In the earlier decision the Central Information Commissioner Sh. AN. Tiwari squarely considered the very same issue with regard to the interplay between section 610 of the Companies Act and the rights of a citizen to obtain information under the RTI Act. Sh. AN. Tiwari by a detailed and considered decision held that the information which can be accessed by resort to section 610 of the Companies Act cannot be accessed by resort to the provisions of the RTI Act. The same view was taken by another Central Information Commissioner namely, Prof. M.M. Ansari. The petitioner submitted that the Central Information Commissioner, Sh. Shailesh Gandhi has acted with impropriety while passing the impugned order, by disregarding the earlier orders of the other Central Information Commissioners and by taking a decision contrary to them without even referring the matter to a larger Bench.

CIC's Decision:
The CIC has also directed issuance of show-cause notice to the petitioner-PIOs under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act asking them to show-cause as to why penalty should not be imposed upon them for not furnishing information as sought by the querist within thirty days.

Decision by High Court:
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi held that there is nothing inconsistent between the scheme provided under section 610 of the Companies Act and the provisions of the RTl Act. Merely because a different charge is collected for providing information under section 610 of the Companies Act than that prescribed as the fee for providing information under the RTI Act does not lead to an inconsistency in the provisions of these two enactments. Even otherwise, the provisions of the RTI Act would not override the provision contained in section 610 of the Companies Act. Therefore, the later general law cannot be read or understood to have abrogated the earlier special law. Secondly, held that it is a well-settled canon of judicial discipline that a bench dealing with a matter respects an earlier decision rendered by a coordinate bench (i.e., a bench of same strength), and is bound by the decision of a larger bench. If this discipline is breached, the same would lead to complete chaos and confusion in the minds of the litigating public, as well as in the minds of others such as lawyers. If the Central Information Commissioner Sh. Shailesh Gandhi had a different view in the matter — which he was entitled to hold, judicial discipline demanded that he should have recorded his disagreement with the view of Sh. AN. Tiwari, Central Information Commissioner, and, for reasons to be recorded by him, required the constitution of a larger bench to re-examine the issue. He could not have ridden rough shot over the earlier decisions of Sh. AN. Tiwari and Prof. M.M. Ansari, particularly when he was sitting singly to consider the same issue of law The impugned orders passed by Sh. Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner quashed.
Total Case uploaded: 41