Chandigarh Tribune: Ludhiana: Thursday, February 16, 2017.
State Information Commissioner AS Chanduraian has slapped a penalty of Rs 25,000 on a Public Information Officer (PIO), who is an Assistant Town Planner, and directed the Municipal Commissioner to recover the amount from the former’s salary and deposit the amount under the relevant head before the next hearing in the case i.e. February 22.
According to information, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, Dr BS Sidhu, had sought information from the MC regarding a hotel and marriage palace situated opposite Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). More than eight hearings have been conducted in the case but the applicant has not been provided a satisfactory reply by the PIO.
On the sixth hearing held on August 30, 2016, it was stated that the respondent (PIO) had intentionally made a wrong and misleading statement by saying that the completion plans of the particular hotel and marriage palace were kept in record in accordance with the number of the building plan of the hotel and the marriage palace.
During several hearings in the case, the Commission directed the PIO concerned to appear in person before it and bring relevant records. A warning was also issued to the PIO that non-compliance of the Commission’s orders would attract action under the provisions of the RTI Act, still there was no response from the PIO.
Dr Sidhu alleged that incomplete information was supplied to him and he was being deliberately harassed by the PIO. Accordingly, a penalty of Rs 25,000 was imposed on the PIO holding him or her guilty of violation under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act. The Commissioner ordered that the amount may be deducted from the salary of the PIO in three instalments (two of Rs 10,000 each and the third one of Rs 5,000). It has been directed that the PIO be present with all relevant record on the next date of hearing in the case.