Central Information Commission has levied a penalty of Rs. 500/- to The Joint Commissioner Of Income Tax, Range-3, Bokaro for not providing information to Mr. Radha Raman Tripathy. Please see the order dated 15.06.2020.
FULL TEXT OF THE CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
1. The complainant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), O/o The Joint Commissioner Of Income Tax, Bokaro seeking following information:-
“Kindly refer to order of Hon. CIC vide CIC/CCAPT/C/2017/606204-BJ dated 04/05/2018. Kindly provide me the following information in respect of JCIT, Range-3, Bokaro:-
1. Date of receipt of order as above.
2. Copy of explanation submitted to the Hon. CIC in compliance to show cause u/s 20(1) of the RTI Act”
2.The CPIO responded on 19-07-2018. Thereafter, the complainant filed a complaint u/Section 18 of the RTI Act before the Commission requesting to take appropriate legal action against the CPIO u/Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005.
3. The complainant, Mr. Radha Raman Tripathy did not attend the hearing despite notice. Mr. Pranab Koley, Additional Commissioner Income Tax participated in the hearing representing the respondent through video conferencing.
4. The respondent informed the Commission that the date of receipt of the order no. CIC/CCAPT/C/2017/606204-BJ dated 04-05-2018 was 23-05-2018 and in compliance of which, the explanation was sent to the CIC on 06-06-2018. However, they could not provide a copy of the said explanation to the complainant.
5. This Commission takes note of the mentioned grounds and the relief sought by the complainant through this complaint wherein he has indicated as follows:-
1. The CPIO has given misleading and unsatisfactory reply.
1. Penalty/fine may kindly be imposed on the CPIO.
2. Disciplinary proceedings may kindly be initiated against the CPIO.”
6. From the CPIO’s reply dated 19-07-2018 and the averments put forth by Mr. Pranab Koley, Additional Commissioner Income Tax, it is inferred that the information has been supplied by the CPIO on point no. 1 of the RTI application but on point no. 2 regarding copy of the explanation submitted to the CIC in compliance of the show cause notice vide order no. CIC/CCAPT/C/2017/606204-BJ dated 04-05-2018, the then CPIO has sent an evasive reply to the complainant. Instead of providing copy of the said explanation, the then CPIO has simply indicated that the explanation had been sent to the CIC on 06-06-2018. It is to be noted that once an applicant seeks ‘information’ as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005, the same cannot be denied to the information seeker except on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 8 or 9 of the RTI Act, 2005. However, the then CPIO has neither provided the information nor claimed any exemption. He has followed the same template of reply in other cases as well without applying his mind. This indicates that he has not acted with all due alacrity and has instead obstructed the flow of information. Therefore, this Commission is constrained to impose a penalty of Rs. 500/- u/Section 20(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 on the then CPIO, Mr. Sanjib Kumar Roy, JCIT, JC-3, Bokaro for his casual and callous approach in responding to the RTI application. The amount of Rs. 500/- shall be deducted by the Public Authority from his salary by way of a demand draft drawn in favour of “PAO, CAT”, New Delhi and the demand draft should be forwarded to the Deputy Registrar (CR-II), email: firstname.lastname@example.org Room No. 106, First Floor, Central Information Commission, Baba Gangnath Marg, Munirka, New Delhi-110067. This demand draft of Rs. 500/- should reach the Commission by 14-07-2020.
7. With the above observations, the complaint is disposed of.
8. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties