Saturday, January 28, 2017

HC upholds fine on ICAR CPIO for not providing information

Business Standard‎‎‎: New Delhi: Saturday, January 28, 2017.
Delhi High Court has upheld a Rs 25,000 fine imposed by CIC on a central public information officer (CPIO) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for not providing information sought by an applicant under the Right to Information Act.
After perusing the replies given by the CPIO, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said the Central Information Commission (CIC) "has not erred" and "cannot be faulted" for coming to the conclusion that the information sought was not provided.
The court said, "The response to the various queries (that) 'it is an institute matter', neither answers the queries, nor renders an explanation claiming exemption from providing information."
"It is apparent that the petitioner (CPIO) has not responded to the queries raised by the respondent (RTI applicant). The response given by the petitioner 'it is an institute matter' does not convey any meaning to the applicant," the judge said while disposing of the CPIO's plea.
CPIO B B Dash had moved the court for expunging the remarks made against him by CIC in its order of November 22, 2016 and the fine of Rs 25,000 imposed on him.
His lawyer urged the court to grant the relief as the petitioner was going to retire at the end of this month and the remarks in the order would affect his service record.
However, the court said, "Perusal of the impugned order shows that CIC has not erred in returning a finding that information sought has not been provided to the respondent No.2 (RTI applicant).
"Thus, the order of CIC dated November 22, 2016 cannot be faulted. In view of the above, I find no merit in the petition. The petition is, accordingly, dismissed."
The RTI applicant had sought various information including the cost incurred by ICAR on diagnostic kits for Foot and Mouth Disease and the reply given by CPIO Dash to a majority of the queries was "it is an institute matter".