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Public Information Officer fined Rs 10,000 for not providing info under RTI Act

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Andhra Pradesh Information Commission has fined a Visakhapatnam PIO Rs 10,000 for not providing information under the RTI Act 2005. In the verdict, the commission said the amount should be paid to the government treasury within 30 days from the RTI Public Information Officer, Venkateswara Rao’s (PIO) salary and a ‘red mark’ should be made in the service register for his lack of awareness of the RTI Act, irresponsibility and negligence in its implementation.

The Appellant, K Venkata Ramana, filed an RTI application on June 29, 2020 before the PIO. The PIO did not respond to the application within 30 days. The appellant filed the first appeal on August 4, 2020, in which the FAA order was not placed on record. As there was no response from the authorities concerned, the dissatisfied appellant filed a second appeal before the commission on September 21, 2020.

During the hearing, the POI, Venkateswara Rao, Junior Accounts Officer, RECS and the FAA, MV Rama Krishnam Raju, Managing Director, RECS of Kasimkota in Visakhapatnam, claimed that only partial information was furnished to the appellant as they were unaware of the 4 (1) B preparation. In this context, the case (No 8413/SIC/UHPR/2020) was heard on November 11 and 29 last year and on February 18 and August 18 this year.

The respondents asked for some time during the hearing on November 29, 2021 and apologised for not being able to inform the applicant. The Information Commission has taken the failure to respond to this too seriously. State Information Commissioner U Hariprasad Reddy expressed his anger, saying that it was not reasonable for the PIO and Appellate Officer to act irresponsibly.