Patiala, February 1
The Punjab State Information Commission has ordered the office of Public Information Officer at the Patiala Municipal Corporation to pay Rs 15,000 as compensation to an appellant for harassment caused due to delay in providing information under the RTI Act.
Varun Malhotra, a city resident, had filed an RTI application with the MC demanding a report of action regarding his complaint about illegal construction on government land in Cycle Market. The Municipal Assistant Town Planner (ATP), who is also the Public Information Officer, in his response said the file regarding the matter was with the MC legal wing for further action. The applicant later complained to the Corporation Commissioner that he had been given incomplete information by the ATP and sought action against his office. The ATP held the same stance after the Commissioner’s direction to provide the information.
While hearing the appeal, the office of Punjab State Information Commission in presence of the ATP and a building inspector directed the ATP office to provide the compensation amount to the applicant. It said the file regarding the information was in possession of the MC building branch at the time of its response. It said the PIO held the same wrongful stance in front of the commission that the file was with the legal branch which “Shows a lackadaisical attitude towards the RTI Act and requests for information”.
The office said even though the information requested in the RTI application was available early on, the applicant was made to wait for nearly 11 months before it was revealed to him during the hearing at the commission.
It then awarded a compensation of Rs 15,000 to Malhotra, to be paid by the office of the ATP, building branch, Municipal Corporation, for harassment and delay caused to the applicant.
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