Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Follow-up of Show Cause Notices - Finally

Day before yesterday I went to the State Information Commission to meet the Registrar. He had been promising that he would initiate follow-up of Show Cause Notices. I have been pushing this for close to 6 months now, and finally the process has started. Till Thursday about 32 cases where show cause notices were issued previously were followed up on. The Registrar showed me a case where the penalty has been imposed since there was no reply to the Show Cause Notice. This is precisely what I wanted. The Registrar had also offered to allow me to go through all the files which I intend to do next week to see what are the different scenarios and to see what different Commissioners are doing with the Show Cause Notices they issued. But this is an important step forward.

The process right now being followed is that all cases where Show Cause Notices have been issued starting from Jan 2009 are being taken up for follow-up. First it is checked whether any reply has come from the Public Authority, and if so the file is placed before the same commissioner who first issued the Show Cause Notice, so that he considers whether the reply to the SCN has any explanation for why penalty should not be imposed. Even if there has been no reply, the file is sent to the Commissioner for imposition of penalty. The problems that will come up are how the

In a case that I saw, the Managing Director of a PSU was asked to pay a penalty of Rs.1000 as in a previous order he was asked to get a reply from the PIO of the PSU for the Show Cause Notice issued by the Commission, which he did not. This is not legally correct. The RTI act does not empower the SIC to levy penalty on anybody other than the PIO. This order might also mean letting off the PIO. Such issues need to be analysed. A more detailed report on what happened in those 32 cases will be available next week.

1 comment:

Devaraj said...

Hats OFF to You.