The State Information Commission (SIC) has reprimanded the assistant director food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department (FCS&CA), Budgam for not replying to an application under RTI act. It has also questioned the information provided to the appellant in this case by two Tehsil officers.
The appellant, Mujtiba Bashir had submitted the application in April 2017 to the public information officer (PIO)/assistant director, FCS&CA department seeking information about the ration supplied from Budgam to Beerwah A and B circles from October 2014 to March 2015.
The PIO had referred the application to two Tehsil supply officers (TSOs) asking them to reply. Dissatisfied with the reply of the TSOs, the appellant filed an appeal before the SIC.
The commission after examining the case observed that the reply “has not been provided by the PIO himself, who is supposed to provide the same under Section-7.”
“He is supposed to collect the requisite information from the concerned quarters and then provide it to the applicant. Section 7(1) enjoins upon the PIO to provide the information within 30 days from the date of the filing of the RTI application.
“Section 7(1) has been clearly violated as the reply has been sent to the RTI applicant on 27.05.2017. Instead of PIO, the information has been reportedly sent by the TSOs who are not the PIOs and are not authorized to provide the reply directly,” the commission observed.
The commission said, “The information prepared and provided by the two TSOs is on the face of it incomplete, vague and possibly misleading.“In the light of the facts as have come forth through this inquiry under section 15, it will be appropriate to initiate penalty proceedings under section 17 of J&K RTI Act, 2009.”
The commission issued notice to the then PIO/assistant director FCS&CA Budgam, who is now functioning as assistant director (enforcement) in the directorate of FCS&CA, Kashmir asking him to explain the reasons for not replying to the RTI application within the stipulated time and not sending the reply to the RTI application at his level.