Saturday, July 07, 2018

Haryana information panel imposes Rs 25,000 fine

Times of India: Chandigarh: Saturday, July 07, 2018.
The state information commission (SIC) Haryana has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the former principal-cum-state public information officer (SPIO) of DAV Girls College, Yamunanagar, for denying information under the RTI to an assistant professor of the institute.
Former principal Sushma Arya is presently posted as registrar of DAV University in Jalandhar.
In its orders, the SIC has directed the private university authorities to deduct the amount from her salary and deposit it with the commission. SIC passed these orders while hearing an appeal filed by Sushil Kansal. In his RTI application in December 2016, Kansal had sought information about the duration of teaching periods, total workload and teaching hours of the college.
Then SPIO Sushma Arya denied the information on frivolous grounds, citing exemption under Section 8 of the RTI Act. Thereafter, Kansal filed an appeal with the president of the governing body of the college, who also upheld the principal’s decision.
When he filed an appeal before the SIC, the new principal-cum-SPIO, Vibha Gupta provided the information. However, in its July 5, 2017 orders, the SIC issued a show-cause notice to former principal, Sushma Arya, asking her to appear personally before the commission in August 2017 and to explain as to why penalty should not be imposed on her for denying the information without any valid reason. On May 7, she had submitted her reply through her counsel.
After hearing the submissions of both the parties, the SIC rejected all the submissions of the then SPIO and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the former principal. On her retirement, the principal joined as registrar of a private university near Jalandhar.
With these orders, the private university has to deduct this amount from her salary and to deposit it to the state information commission.
According to the appellant, he had sought similar information from 50 different private and government colleges of Haryana. While all the other colleges provided the information, only the then principal of DAV girls college Yamunanagar had refused.