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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Penalty
Supreme Court(Penalty)/ High Courts(Penalty)
S.No. CIC CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 CIC/BOMAH/A/2017/167924 22 Apr, 2019 Sagar Vijayrao Thube Vs. CPIO: Bank of Maharashtra, Zonal Office, Aurangabad

Information Sought
A Show Cause Notice was issued to the CPIO, Bank of Maharashtra, Zonal Office, Aurangabad, in compliance of the Commission’s order no. CIC/BOMAH/A/2017/167924 dated 25.02.2019 for not furnishing the information to the appellant. The CPIO was directed to submit an explanation as to why action under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act should not be initiated against him.

Decision
The Commission after adverting to the facts and circumstances of the case, hearing both the parties and perusal of records, feels that the respondent has not provided the information till date despite the show cause notice and categorical direction issued to him. Even today the respondent is coming with an excuse that he needs extra time to provide the information. It is pertinent to mention that one year ten months has elapsed and the respondent is still seeking additional time to provide the information. On prima facie it appears that there is deliberate denial and mala fide on part of the then CPIO and the present CPIO in withholding the
information. Hence, the interest of justice demands imposition of penalty on the respondent for withholding the information illegally and contravening the provisions of the RTI Act. Accordingly the Commission taking a lenient view imposes a token penalty of Rs. 10,000/- (Ten thousand only) on Mr. Sonaje R. D. Asst. the then CPIO & General Manager, Bank of Maharashtra, Bengaluru for the reasons mentioned above. The amount of Rs. 10,000/- (Ten thousand only) shall be deducted by the Public Authority from the salary of Mr. Sonaje R. D. Asst. the then CPIO & General Manager, Bank of Maharashtra, Bengaluru by way of demand draft drawn in favour of “PAO, CAT”, New Delhi and forward the demand drafts addressed to Deputy Registrar (CR-II), email: dyregcr2-cic@gov.in Room No. 106, First Floor, Central Information Commission, Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka, New Delhi 110067. The aforesaid penalty amount should reach to the Commission by 24.06.2019.

2 CIC/PNBNK/A/2017/140407 22 Apr, 2019 Rajendra Kumar Vs. CPIO: Punjab National Bank, Alwar.

Information Sought
A Show Cause Notice was issued to the then CPIO, Punjab National Bank, Alwar, in compliance of the Commission’s order no. CIC/PNBNK/A/2017/140407 dated 28.09.2018 for not furnishing the information to the appellant. The CPIO was directed to submit an explanation as to why action under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act should not be initiated against him.

Decision
It appears that the CPIOs are in oblivion of the provisions of the RTI Act vide last order dated 28.9.2018, a show cause notice was issued to the CPIO for explaining as to why action under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act should not be initiated against him. In spite of the clear instructions contained in the notice dated 5.3.2019 they have failed to upload the action taken and now have come before the Commission with the plea that the reply has already been given to the appellant. The CPIO is unable to explain as to why they could not make the reply available and the delay in reply, if any has been given, after a lapse of over 3 years.

The Commission after adverting to the facts and circumstances of the case including absence of the appellant, and perusal of records, feels that it is a fit case wherein a penalty of Rs.20,000/- may be imposed on the then CPIO, Punjab National Bank, Alwar. The amount of Rs. 20,000/- shall be deducted by the Public Authority from the salary of the, then CPIO, Punjab National Bank, Alwar, as on 26.09.2016 by way of demand draft drawn in favour of “PAO, CAT”, New Delhi in 5 equal monthly installments and forward the demand drafts addressed to Deputy Registrar (CR-II), email: dyregcr2-cic@gov.in Room No. 106, First Floor, Central Information Commission, Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka, New Delhi 110067. The first installment should reach the Commission by 24.06.2019 and the last installment should reach by 25.10.2019.

3 CIC/ADDDM/A/2017/134080 07 Mar, 2019 Shri Vipin Yadav Vs. PIO/ Tehsildar-(HQ), O/o. the Land Acquisition Collector-(South-West), Government of NCT of Delhi)

Information Sought
The Appellant vide RTI application dated 22.07.2016 sought certified copy of the N.O.C having no. 5283, 5352, 5344 applied by R.C. Aggarwal in respect of 1/9 share of Khasra No. 978(4-9), 905min(1-0), 906 min(3-6), 908(6-10) and 909(2018) Estate of Village Rajokri, New Delhi.

Decision
After hearing submissions of the parties and perusal of records, the Commission is taken aback at the poor response and handling of the case at the office of the PIO/Tehsildar (HQ)/Land Acquisition Collector. The order of the FAA/ADM - Dr.Pranjal J. Hazarika has been completely violated by the PIO/Land Acquisition Collector. Sh. R K Meena-SO, LAC and Sh. Jitender Kumar – Sr. Asst. present in today’s hearing have submitted that the following officials held office between 2017 till date:

1. Sh. S K Rawat – Tehsildar (HQ) 2017
2. Sh. R K Pandey – SO/LAC-PIO 2018
3. Sh. R K Meena – current PIO/SO-LAC since 2018

In the light of the facts and circumstances of the case at hand, the Commission hereby directs as follows:

a) The case is remanded to the current FAA/ADM for ensuring compliance of the FAA’s order dated 23.01.2017. The FAA shall call for explanation from the aforementioned PIOs for causing deliberate obstruction in the flow of information and non-compliance of the FAA’s order dated 23.01.2017, mentioned above. Enquiry Report be submitted before the Commission within three weeks of receipt of this order;

b) The current PIO/SO-LAC – Sh. R K Meena shall provide complete information, in response to the queries of the appellant, as already directed by the FAA vide order dated 23.01.2017, within two weeks of submission of documents establishing title to the property, by the appellant. Compliance report shall be submitted by the current PIO/SO- LAC within three weeks of receipt of this order, failing which appropriate action, as per law, shall be initiated.

The appeal is disposed off accordingly.

4 CIC/KVSAN/A/2017/164873-BJ 24 Dec, 2018 Mr. R. S. Rai Vs. CPIO & Assistant commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Jabalpur Region, GCF Estate, Behind Science College, Jabalpur – 482011

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 02 points regarding the certified copy of the leave application, medical certificate and details of charge taken by Mr. R.S. Roy TGT for the period from 18.10.2016 to 21.10.2016, result analysis of Class X ‘A’ and ‘B’ for the period from 2007-2008, 2009-2010 to 2014-2015, etc.

Decision
“ 61. Even if it were to be assumed for the sake of argument, that the view taken by the learned Central Information Commissioner in the impugned order was correct, and that the PIOs were obliged to provide the information, which was otherwise retrievable by the querist by resort to Section 610 of the Companies Act, it could not be said that the information had been withheld malafide or deliberately without any reasonable cause. It can happen that the PIO may genuinely and bonafidely entertain the belief and hold the view that the information sought by the querist cannot be provided for oneor the other reasons. Merely because the CIC eventually finds that the view taken bythe PIO was not correct, it cannot automatically lead to issuance of a showcause noticeunder Section 20 of the RTI Act and the imposition of penalty. The legislature has
cautiously provided that only in cases of malafides or unreasonable conduct, i.e., wherethe PIO, without reasonable cause refuses to receive the application, or provide theinformation, or knowingly gives incorrect, incomplete or misleading information ordestroys the information, that the personal penalty on the PIO can be imposed. Thiswas certainly not one such case. If the CIC starts imposing penalty on the PIOs in everyother case, without any justification, it would instill a sense of constant apprehension in those functioning as PIOs in the public authorities, and would put undue pressure onthem. They would not be able to ful fill their statutory duties under the RTI Act with anindependent mind and with objectivity. Such consequences would not auger well for thefuture development and growth of the regime that the RTI Act seeks to bring in, andmay lead to skewed and imbalanced decisions by the PIOs Appellate Authorities andthe CIC. It may even lead to unreasonable and absurd orders and bring the institutionscreated by the RTI Act in disrepute.”

Similarly, the following observation of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Bhagat Singh v. CIC &Ors. WP(C) 3114/2007 are pertinent in this matter:

“17. This Court takes a serious note of the two-year delay in releasing information, thelack of adequate reasoning in the orders of the Public Information Officer and theAppellate Authority and the lack of application of mind in relation to the nature ofinformation sought. The materials on record clearly show the lackadaisical approach ofthe second and third respondent in releasing the information sought. However, thePetitioner has not been able to demonstrate that they malafidely denied the information sought. Therefore, a direction to the Central Information Commission to initiate action under Section 20 of the Act, cannot be issued.”

Furthermore, the High Court of Delhi in the decision of Col. Rajendra Singh v. Central Information Commission and Anr. WP (C) 5469 of 2008 dated 20.03.2009 had held as under:

“Section 20, no doubt empowers the CIC to take penal action and directpayment of such compensation or penalty as is warranted. Yet the Commission has to be satisfied that the delay occurred was without reasonable cause or the request was deniedmalafidely.

……The preceding discussion shows that at least in the opinion of this Court, there are no allegations to establish that the information was withheld malafide or unduly delayed so as to lead to an inference that petitioner was responsible for unreasonably withholding it.”

The Appellant could not substantiate his claims regarding malafide denial of information by the Respondent or for withholding it without any reasonable cause.

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.

The Appeal stands disposed accordingly.

5 CIC/DOEAF/C/2017/105166/ISPNR 06 Aug, 2018 Ms Rashi Agrawal Vs CPIO, SPMCIL NEW DELHI, CPIO INDIAN SECURITY PRESS NASHIK

ISSUE : Non receipt of reply from the CPIO.
DECISION : The Commission observed that there is complete negligence and laxity in the public authority in dealing with the RTI applications It is abundantly clear that such matters are being ignored and set aside without application of mind which reflects disrespect towards the RTI Act itself. The Commission expressed its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the respondent in responding to RTI applications.
The Commission directed the Public Authority to depute an officer of a senior rank to seek the explanation to the show cause notice from the concerned CPIOs and furnish the details sought by the complainant within a period of 30 days.
6 CIC/MOENF/C/2017/178184 30 Jul, 2018 Subhash Chandra Agrawal vs CPIO, MOEF and Climate Change

ISSUE :The appellant sought information relating to “conflicting rules of environment – Ministry aand MIDC puts entrepreneurs in problem” on fourteen points. The appellant was not satisfied by the reply of the CPIO and the FAA on grounds of the same being improper/incomplete. The appellant also sought for compensation for the detriment caused to him for the delay in supply of information to him.
DECISION : The CPIO is directed to affirm on affidavit and submit to the Commission, duly endorsed to the appellant that in respect of para 7 of the stated RTI application complete reply was provided vide replies dated 27/6/18 and 17/4/18. Otherwise he should furnish a revised consolidated reply within 10 days from the receipt of this order to the appellant on this point.
The Commission is of the opinion that a token amount of Rs 1000/- should be paid as compensation to the appellant u/s 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act for the detriment caused to him. This amount is to be paid by the Public Authority, MOEF and Climate Change.
7 CIC/POSTS/A/2018/102584 25 Jun, 2018 BK Porwal Vs PIO, Deptt of Posts

ISSUE :The applicant, facing an inquiry for sexual harassment, requested for documents relating to the inquiry. The CPIO rejected the request under sections 8(1)(d) and (g).
DECISION : By denying the information the appellant was not only harassed by the public authority but also by the CPIO. While the public authority denied him the documents which he was entitled under SHW Act of 2013, the CPIO denied them under RTI Act.
…..the Commission concludes that denial of information to the appellant was without any reasonable cause and hence liable for maximum penalty of Rs 25,000/-
The Commission also finds it a fit case to recommend the public authority to initiate disciplinary action against the CPIO.
8 CIC/SH/C/2016/000310 19 Jan, 2018 A Gopi Krishna Vs CPIO, Syndicate Bank, Visakhapatnam

ISSUE :The complainant filed a complaint before the Commission on the grounds that the CPIO did not respond to his RTI application.
The respondent submitted that the CPIO did not receive the complainant’s RTI application and therefore information could not be provided to him within the stipulated time.
DECISION : As per the submission of the complainant the RTI application was handed over to the bank ‘by hand’ by the brother of the appellant. The bank did not accept it, thereafter the appellant sent it by post to the respondent.
The Commission directed the FAA, Syndicate Bank, Visakhapatnam, to inquire into the matter as to whether the RTI application was received in the branch and if so, what action was taken on the RTI application. The FAA shall also, if required, take appropriate departmental action against the officers responsible for the misplacement of the RTI application. A copy of the inquiry report along with the action taken report may be provided to the Commission as well as to the appellant within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.
9 CIC/CBODT/C/2016/299248/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/299253/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/299257/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/299258/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/300147/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/300149/BJ CIC/CBODT/C/2016/300150/BJ CIC/DITIN/C/2016/299250/BJ 31 Jul, 2017 Mr. Radha Raman Tripathy Vs CPIO, Income Tax Department, Jharkhand

The Complainant vide his RTI application sought information on 02 points regarding total number of CAs and Advocates against whom cases had been filed before their disciplinary authorities for cancellation of practicing licenses, list of such cases, etc. The Commission observed that the responses provided by the CPIO were in total contradiction and disregard to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. Hence, the Commission, directs the CCIT, Ranchi to conduct an enquiry either by himself or through a nominee officer of senior rank and send an enquiry report to the Commission. It was observed that the action taken by the CPIO in relation to the information sought needs to be examined carefully by the CCIT, Ranchi so that the fundamental right of the information seeker is fully respected and protected.
10 CIC/CBODT/A/2016/304262-BJ 31 Jul, 2017 Mr. Goutam Kumar Das Vs CPIO, Income Tax Department, Bhubaneswar

The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 02 points regarding complete details of minutes with regard to the Review DPC proceedings based on Supreme Court Judgement in Civil Appeal No. 7514-7515/2005 in the case of N.R. Parmar vs. Union of India.

The Commission directs the Respondent (ITO-Legal) to facilitate inspection of records on a mutually convenient date and time within 15 days.
11 CIC/CBODT/C/2016/299244/BJ 31 Jul, 2017 Mr. Radha Raman Tripathy Vs CPIO, Income Tax Department, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand

CPIO denied the information on the ground that information was sought for narrow private interest and no larger public interest was going to be served with its disclosure.

The Commission observed that the responses provided by the CPIO
were in total disregard to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and contradictory response was provided by the representative of Respondent. The commission issued showcause notice under section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005. The Commission also advises the Respondent Public Authority to convene periodic conferences/seminars to sensitize, familiarize and educate the
concerned officials about the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities.
12 CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113751, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113752, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113754, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113755, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113756, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113757, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113758, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113759, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113760, CIC/CAGIN/A/2017/113761, CIC/C 26 Jul, 2017 Mrs. Byramma Vs. CPIO, Sr. Dy. A/c. Gen. (Admn.), O/o. The Principal Accountant General, (A & E) Karnataka, Indian Audit & Accounts, Park House Road, Bangalore-560001.

CIC directed the respondent to (a.) to make thorough search of their records with respect to the Pension Payment Order (PPO) number of Sh. Thimmaiah and give reply/information to the appellant as per the provisions enumerated under the RTI Act, within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order; (b.) to transfer the RTI applications dated 05.10.2016 of the appellant (as enumerated in the table at para no. 34 above), within 5 days from the date of receipt of this order. The concerned Public Authority in turn are directed to give reply to the appellant, within 25 days from the date of receipt of RTI applications; and (c.) assistance should be made available to the appellant in getting information or filing RTI application/appeal as per provisions of the RTI Act.
13 CIC/SB/A/2016/000704-BJ-Final 19 Jul, 2017 Mr. R K Jain Vs. CPIO, Account Officer, Customs Excise & Service Tax, Appellate Tribunal, West Block No. 2, R K Puram, New Delhi-110066

The appellant vide his RTI application sought information regarding the copies of all order sheets/record of proceedings/ notice of hearing issued to the parties, vakalatnama and related issues. Dissatisfied by non-receipt of any information, the appellant approached the FAA. The FAA vide its order dated 22.08.2014 directed the CPIO to furnish the required information within two weeks from the date of the order. The Commission finds that as per the provisions of Section 20(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, this is a fit case for levying of the maximum penalty of Rs. 25,000/- on CPIO for not providing the information to the Appellant. The Commission instructs the respondent to convene periodic conferences/seminars to sensitize, familiarize and educate the concerned officials about the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 for effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities.
14 CIC/RK/A/2016/000971-AB 19 Jul, 2017 Jang Bahadur Patel Vs. Public Information Officer, Northern Railway, DRM’s Office

Show Cause notice issued to the CPIO to explain why action u/s 20 should not be taken against him for delay in providing information. The present PIO shall serve the show cause to him.
2 The then respondent CPIO is issued warning that complete and final reply to an RTI application should be provided within the time period as stipulated under the RTI Act and he should ensure that in future in every case reply to an RTI application is invariably provided within 30 days of receipt of the said RTI application.
3. Since the requisite information was not provided to the appellant, the respondent CPIO is directed to provide point wise reply complete in all respects to the appellant as available on record in regard to the number of MST passes issued from 01.08.2011 to 31.10.2011 and 01.09.2012 to 30.11.2012 and such other details, free of charge u/s 7(6) of the RTI Act within 15 days of the receipt of the order.
15 CIC/YA/A/2016/000938 01 Jul, 2017 Ms. Malti Vs. North Delhi Municipal Corporation

The appellant sought how much time will be taken to process her application dated 13.02.2015 No. 2395, Addl(DEMS) & Date 16.03.2015 No. 16466. The CPIO replied vide letter dated 10.07.2015. Dissatisfied response received from CPIO, the appellant filed first appeal. The FAA vide order dated 14.10.2015 upheld the CPIO’s reply. Feeling aggrieved, the appellant approached the Commission. The Commission observed that, despite sufficient lapse of time, the Respondent has not complied with the directions of the Commission. Therefore, directed to issue SHOW CAUSE NOTICE upon the PIO, S I, DEMS, NDMC, Civil Lines Zone, Sh. K C Sharma responsible for deliberate obstruction of information and violation of directions of the ommission. Reply to the Show Cause should reach the Commission atleast one week prior to the date of Show cause hearing, wherein the Noticee should clarify why penalty of Rs. 25,000/- should not be imposed upon him.
Total Case uploaded: 61