|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Jan 16: State information commission has issued penalty notice to Executive engineer PHE Doda for charging a fee of Rs. 4000/- from an RTI applicant for furnishing an information based on 93 pages, costing mere Rs. 186/-.
Details available with Early Times reveal that one Puran Chand R/O Koti Basti Doda filed an RTI application with PIO/Executive Engineer, PHE Division, Doda on 29.03.2018, seeking details of expenditure incurred on drinking water scheme Koti to Mandrala. In addition to it he sought copy of estimate, NIT floated, copies of allotment of work, work done details, copies of MB, details of works executed without tenders, current status of the scheme etc.
The PIO vide his communication dated: 20.04.2018 informed RTI applicant that since information sought by him was quite voluminous and it was difficult to compile such information, therefore, he should visit his office and have inspection of records.
Following filing of the first appeal by the applicant, on 16.07.2018 the PIO informed the appellant that photocopying charges of the information sought by him has been calculated to Rs. 4,000/-. He was accordingly asked to deposit an amount of Rs. 4,000/- so that information could be supplied to him.
The appellant deposited the copying charges to the tune of Rs. 4,000/, but the PIO furnished information to the appellant on 25.07.2018 comprising of mere 93 pages for which only Rs 186 were supposed to be charged as per J&K RTI Rules 2012 (Rs 2 / copy).
Not satisfied with the information provided by the Xen PHE Doda (PIO), Puran Chand filed 2nd appeal before the State Information Commission (SIC) on 13.08.2018 (admitted on 24.08.2018) submitting therein that the information provided by the PIO was incomplete and praying for stringent action against the PIO.
The SIC in its order ruled, "Since the information, as was available with the PIO, and has been furnished to the appellant, the present appeal is disposed of. However, penalty proceedings against the PIO/Er. B.K. Bhagat, Executive Engineer, PHE, Division Doda shall continue. The Registry is directed to issue show-cause notice to Er. B.K. Bhagat, Executive Engineer, PHE, Division Doda asking him to explain as to why penalty should not be imposed upon him for his failure to furnish information to the appellant within the period specified under section 7 (1) of the J&K RTI Act, 2009, for charging copying fee from the appellant in contravention of section 7 (6) of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 and also for charging unreasonable and irrational fee from the appellant in contravention of J&K RTI Rules, 2012".