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Penalty of `45, 000 imposed on the public information office

Dehradun: The State Information Commission has imposed a penalty of `45, 000 on the public information office, DM office, who failed to provide appropriate information to RTI applicants within 30 days. This was said by one of the department officials on Wednesday. He said we had received 10 to 12 applications under Right to Information daily in the department.

A total of 3,515 applications including 15 applications in 2005, 624 applications in 2006, 1,026 applications in 2007, 1,467 applications in 2008, 889 applications in 2009, 1,157 applications in 2010-11 and 94 applications in April 2011 and 203 applications in May 2011 were received under RTI in the department since 2005. In most of the cases, applicants have asked various questions related to different departments in one application, which is against the Act. Some of the applicants had asked questions related to blocks or other districts like Chamoli, Tehri and others. For instance, in one application an applicant had asked 75 questions related to different departments including forest, Municipal Corporation, Collectorate, Registration office and others in the department. There is need to create awareness among the public about the RTI Act in the district. The State Information Commission had imposed a penalty of `5, 000 twice when city magistrate Jharna Kamthan was PIO; a penalty of `25, 000 was imposed when SDM Mohan Singh Burniya was the PIO and a penalty of `10, 000 was imposed when ADM Archana Gaharwal was PIO at PIO Collectorate, who had failed to provide appropriate information to RTI applicants within 30 days. There is shortage of staffs and to address the cases under RTI Act within 30 days, staffs have to work more than 8 hour in office.

Due to work load officials dealing with RTI have to spend their sleepless night. `25,000 are the maximum penalty under RTI Act if the department official fails to provide information to the applicants within 30 days.  Dehradun ADM Archana Gaharwal said it is good that applications under RTI Act are increasing in the district, but applicants should ask reverent questions, which could benefit to the common people in the district.

News Source: Bureau 02-Jun-2011

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