DELAY TO FURNISH INFORMATION UNDER RTI LEADS TO A FINE OF RS 8000

PANJIM: In a case involving a delay of 81 days to furnish information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Goa state information commission has directed the office of the registrar of cooperative societies and its public information officer (PIO) to pay a penalty of 8,000 to the government treasury.
The commission has also awarded a compensation of 2,000 to the applicant. State chief information commissioner M S Keny passed the order on an application filed by Rui Ferreira of Panjim. Ferreira pointed out that the PIO had failed to furnish the 17th inspection report of the Goa Urban Cooperative Bank Ltd by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as directed by the commission on June 14, 2010.
The commission had ordered that the information be furnished within 15 days. Ferreira stated that there was a delay of 81 days in furnishing the information and sought a penalty of 20,000 against the PIO for non-compliance of the order.
During the hearing, D S Morajkar, PIO for the registrar of cooperative societies, stated that the 17th inspection report could not be traced as the registrar's office was shifted twice.
A committee was also formed to trace the report, Morajkar said, adding that there was no willful attempt to disobey the order of the commission to furnish the report. He pointed out that the report was finally procured from the RBI and hence there was a delay in furnishing it to the applicant.
While considering Morajkar's reply that indicated the possibility of records getting mixed up during the shifting of office, the commission observed: "That means the PIO alone cannot be held responsible, and responsibility is to be shared by the (registrar of cooperative societies') office."
Taking a lenient view on the matter, the commission then imposed a penalty and directed the PIO to pay 2,000 and the office to shell out 6,000. The commission ordered that the amount of 8,000 be paid to the government treasury.

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