Duty of UIC

 

 

 

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Duty of Uttarakhand Information Commission [Appeal and Penalties]

 

Subject to the provisions of this Act, it shall be the duty of the Uttarakhand Information Commission, to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person


a) who has been unable to submit a request to a Public Information Officer, either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act, or because the Assistant Public Information Officer has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Public Information Officer or senior officer specified in sub-section (1) of section 19 or the Uttarakhand  Information Commission;


b) who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act;


c) who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act;


d) who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable;


e) who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act;


f) in respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act.


Where the Uttarakhand Information Commission, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof.

The Uttarakhand Information Commission, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, viz:

a) summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
b) requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
c) receiving evidence on affidavit ;
d) requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office
e) issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents
f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

Notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other Act of Parliament or Legislature, as the case may be, the Uttarakhand Information Commission, may, during the inquiry of any complaint under this Act, examine any record to which this Act applies which is under the control of the public authority, and no such record may be withheld from it on any grounds.

 

Appeal:


Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub-section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Public Information Officer, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Public Information Officer in each public authority:

 

Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.

 

Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Public Information Officer, under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.

 

A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received, with the the Uttarakhand Information Commission: Provided that the Uttarakhand Information Commission, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.

 

If the decision of the Public Information Officer, against which an appeal is preferred relates to information of a third party, the Uttarakhand Information Commission, shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to that third party.

 

In any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was justified shall be on the Public Information Officer, who denied the request.

 

An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be disposed of within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing.

 

The decision of the Uttarakhand Information Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.

In its decision, Uttarakhand Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to

 

a) require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including - by providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;


- by appointing a  Public Information Officer;
- by publishing certain information or categories of information;
- by making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records;
- by enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials;
- by providing it with an annual report in compliance with clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4;
 

b) require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered;
 

c) impose any of the penalties provided under this Act;
 

d) reject the application.
 

The Uttarakhand Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to the complainant and the public authority.

 

The Uttarakhand Information Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed.

 

Penalties:


Where the Uttarakhand Information Commission, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public Information Officer, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees:

 

Provided that the Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him:

 

Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Public Information Officer.

 

Where the Uttarakhand Information Commission, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Public Information Officer, has, without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for disciplinary action against the Public Information Officer  under the service rules applicable to him.

 
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