RTI plea: Casual approach costs LIT dear

State panel slaps penalty of Rs5,000 on Executive Officer of the Trust

RTI plea: Casual approach costs LIT dear

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 20

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has once again landed itself in trouble. For failure to provide complete information about allotment of 12507 square yards of land to Ludhiana Aviation Club and subsequent violations committed by the allottee under the Right to Information Act to city-based RTI activists Baljeet Singh, the Punjab State Information Commission (PSIC) has imposed a penalty of Rs 5,000 on the Executive Officer of LIT for violation of section 20(1) of the Act.

Baljeet Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar locality, had pointed out violations committed by the allottee of the said land and had sought information under the RTI Act through an application submitted on March 18, 2019, about action taken report on default in payment, sub-letting of land to an elite club, illegal change of land use and construction of building without an approved building plan.

As the LIT authorities did not provide the desired information in the stipulated period, the applicant filed an appeal before the PSIC.

During hearing of the appeal case on February 4, State Information Commissioner (SIC) Sanjiv Garg noted that the respondent (PIO of the Trust) was directed on the previous hearing (on Dec 11, 2019) to supply certified copies of required information and produce a receipt at the next hearing. At the same time, a show-cause notice was also issued to the PIO concerned for no-appearance on the previous date of hearing, the SIC observed.

“None is present on behalf of the respondent PIO,” Garg placed on record on the last date of hearing with the remarks - “Commission takes a very serious view of this casual approach as despite a show-cause notice, the PIO is still absent today. In view of the above, finding guilty of violation under section 20(1) of the RTI Act and causing the delay in supplying the requisite information to the appellant, a penalty of Rs 5,000 is imposed on the Public Information Officer in the office of the Chairman, Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, which is to be deposited into the Treasury and a copy of challan receipt be submitted to the Commission on the next date of hearing,” said the orders of the SIC.

The Commission further directed the respondent PIO (Executive Officer) to appear in person along with the requisite information and for clearing facts of the case. The next date of hearing has been fixed as April1.

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