A fine of Rs 25,000 has been imposed on Delhi University’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Meenakshi Sahay by the Central Information Commission (CIC) for rejecting an RTI application seeking information on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation degree.
The CIC was hearing a plea filed by a Delhi lawyer Mohammad Irsad, whose RTI application seeking information on Modi’s degree was rejected saying that the application failed to mark the Indian Postal Order (IPO) in favour of the Registrar of the university.
The commission said,”the proverb ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ has to be rewritten as ‘rupee wise and thousand foolish’ “.
The commission ordered the public authority to recover an amount of Rs 25,000 from Sahaya’s salary for rejecting the plea and spending thousands of rupees over a legal battle for a postal order worth Rs 10.
In her defence, Sahay asserted that she just followed the University policies and had not rejected the plea willingly.
The CIC found Sahay’s argument unjustified and stated that the fee was not a material factor to reject an RTI plea. Terming the CPIO’s action “pathetic,” the CIC in the order said,”Such a simple RTI application has been unnecessarily dragged to this extent, building piles of multiple files and documents.”
CIC also slammed DU for spending massive amounts of money and consuming the precious time of the public servants including the commission. The commission also ordered the “public authority” to conduct a training session for the entire staff, including CPIO in the matter of RTI law so that they don’t reject any RTI application in a routine manner.
In addition, the commission also ordered that the staff must be provided with latest RTI booklets and textbooks on administrative law. They should also be given certain books like Five-point Someone: What Not To Do At IIT by Chetan Bhagat and Right to Know by late professor SP Sathe.