The Central Information Commission has slapped the maximum fine of Rs 25,000 provided under the RTI Act on the CEO of a cost accounting body for failure to give timely information in a case. The CIC slapped the fine on the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India’s (ICWAI) CEO, Sudhir Mukund Galande, while dismissing his argument that he was acting as a “facilitator” to the RTI applicant and that he was “not having direct access or control” over the information.
Information Commissioner M M Ansari found it a fit case to impose a fine of Rs 25,000, maximum provided under the Act, on him with the directions to the chairman of the institute to deduct it under five monthly installments from the salary of Galande.
“It is hard to believe that he has no direct access or control over the information maintained by his office, of which he is the CEO. We, therefore, hold that he has violated the provisions of the Act since he did not respond to the RTI applications in question within the stipulated time of 30 days,” Ansari ruled while hearing the plea of RTI applicant Ramesh Moreshwar Joshi, whose application was not responded in timely manner.
He also directed the president of the institute to give a compensation of Rs 15,000 to Joshi for the harassment suffered by him.