|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Nov 30: The Public Information Officer (PIO) Jammu, has denied information to an appellant under the RTI Act, prompting the State Information Commission (SIC) to hold penalty proceedings against him.
The appellant Rashu Kanna, of Jagti, Nagrota had filed an RTI application on 30.11.2017 before the PIO, office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Jammu seeking information on eight points. The PIO furnished a copy of the enquiry report but refused to provide copies of the statements made by different witnesses during the course of enquiry, reads the order of SIC.
It is further stated in the order that aggrieved by the decision of the PIO, the appellant approached the First Appellate Authority (FAA), of the office of DC, Jammu, by filing First Appeal on 29.01.2018. The FAA/DC, Jammu disposed of the First appeal vide his order dated 07.03.2018 upholding the decision of the PIO.
Accordingly, the appellant came before the SIC by filing second appeal on 27.03.2018, which was admitted on 26.07.2018, after completion of deficiencies as pointed out by the Registry of the Commission.
"The appellant was present in person. The FAA was represented by Farooq Hussain, Tehsildar/HQA to Deputy Commissioner, Jammu. The PIO was not present. The hearing was adjourned with a direction to PIO to provide information to the appellant in respect of point Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 of the basic RTI application within a period of 02 weeks from the date of receipt of the order", reads the order.
The appeal again came up for hearing on 12.11.2018. The appellant was present in person. However, nobody appeared on behalf of respondents. The PIO has also failed to provide information to the appellant relating to point Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 of the RTI application dated: 30.11.2017 in spite of direction given by Commission on 24.09.2018. This exhibits the non-serious approach of the respondents towards the provisions of the Right to Information Act.
"By denying the information to the appellant, the respondents in the present case have become liable to penalties under section 17 of the J&K RTI Act, 2009. A prima-facie case of proceeding against the PIO is made out in the present appeal. Accordingly, the Registry of this Commission is directed to issue a show-cause notice to the PIO to explain as to why penalties as envisaged under section 17 of the Act may not be imposed upon him for denying the information to the appellant within the period specified under section 7 (1) of the J&K RTI Act, 2009. He shall also be directed to file his written statement of defence within a period of 15 days from the date of issuance of such notice," reads the order passed by SIC's Commissioner Muhammad Ashraf Mir.
The PIO is also directed to provide information relating to point numbers 1, 2 3, 4 and 8 of the RTI request dated 30.11.2017 to the appellant within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and also file a compliance report before the Commission within a week's time thereafter.
"With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of. However, penalty proceedings against the PIO shall continue," the order reads.