KNOWINGLY GIVEN INCORRECT, INCOMPLETE OR MISLEADING INFORMATION UNDER THE RTI ACT ATTRACTS DISCIPLINARY ACTION AND 464 /468/166 IPC
By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: The Right to Information Act, 2005 already provides for imposition of penalty and recommendation of disciplinary action by the Central Information Commission/State Information Commission, as the case may be, against the Public Information Officer who has knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information under the RTI Act. The CIC/SICs have been imposing such penalties and also recommending disciplinary action against such Public Information Officers and directions issued to all the departments to fix responsibility and take action under the Government Employees Conduct Rules 1957. Giving Knowingly false information and forged information attracts IPC 464 Making a false document and IPC 468. Forgery for purpose of cheating.—Whoever commits forgery, intending that the 1[document or electronic record forged] shall be used for the purpose of cheating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Punishment—Imprisonment for 7 years and fine—Cognizable—Non-bailable—-Triable by Magistrate of the first class—Non-compoundable. Section 166 of IPC : Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person : Whoever, being a public servant, knowingly disobeys any direction of the law as to the way in which he is to conduct himself as such public servant, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will, by such disobedience, cause injury to any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Most importantly in cited case law by Karira, the Commission themselves have invoked Section 166 of IPC(but have not initiated any action), which further strengthens this line of argument .The relevant extract from the said Order of the CIC is reproduced below;10. On perusal of this correspondence the Commission is constrained to conclude that Dr. S.K. Sarkar, Joint Secretary (AT&T) has obstructed, and Ms Anuradha Chagti and the DoPT as a public authority have knowingly violated and disobeyed the orders passed by the Commission knowing that the directions given by this Commission under Section 19(8) read with Section 19(7) are binding under the law. By their conduct, they have therefore committed offences punishable under Sections 166, 187 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code.Hence, if proved, the possibility of action under Section 166 of IPC cannot be ruled out.
RTI is a total problem solving mechanism and poor man’s tool to solve his problems and not just record providing tool RTI Act is not just 2(f) .It provides transparency under 2(f) and 4(1) (a) (b) (c) and Accountability under 4(1) (d). 4(1) (d) is check on whether public authority function under and as per 4(1) (a) (b) (c).RTI is a total problem solving mechanism and not just record providing tool.RTI will provide transparency and Accountability and this reduces the corruption. This information and reasons need to be provided to me as per Guide on RTI to Information Act 2005 published by the Government of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training (available here :http://rti.gov.in/RTICorner/Guideonrti.pdf) on page 12 and Para 9, following is stated: Providing Reasons for Decisions: The public authorities take various administrative and quasi-judicial decisions which affect the interests of certain persons. It is mandatory for the concerned public authority to provide reasons for such decisions to the affected persons. It may be done by using appropriate mode of communication .Attention is also invited towards the thread 'Affected Person ' under RTI ACT. In fact, it can be said that "Affected" refers back to an action. The "Affected Persons" are the ones who are affected by that action. The reasons need to be given to affected person and copy of that can be given to me under 2 f of RTI Act. The Co-Opeartion Department is THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY under obligation to provide information “PUBLICLY” under section 4(1) (a) (b) (c) (d).
Public authorities cannot take excuse of “missing files” for denying information under the RTI Act as such claims have no legality under the transparency law for withholding records, the Central Information Commission has held.“Unless proved the record was destroyed as per the prescribed rules of destruction/retention policy, it is deemed that record continues to be held by the public authority,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order.The case came before the CIC after one Om Prakash sought to know information from Land and Building Department of Delhi Government regarding allotment of alternative plot in lieu of his land acquired by the Government.The Department admitted before the Commission that the relevant file is missing and it could not be traced even though the officers personally inspected room of the Land and Building Department after receiving the RTI application. The official representing the department said there is no possibility of retrieving the missing record .In a terse order, the Commissioner said loss of records that are required to be kept and maintained permanently, if considered as evidence in a case, should invite criminal complaint against officials under section 201 of Indian Penal Code (punishable with imprisonment which is directly proportional to seriousness of offence charged from seven years to 10 years and for life.) “Claim of file missing or not traceable has no legality as it is not recognised as exception by the RTI Act.
By practice “missing file” cannot be read into as exception in addition to exceptions prescribed by RTI Act.“It amounts to breach of Public Records Act, 1993 and punishable with imprisonment up to a term of five years or with fine or both,” Mr. Acharyulu said. The Commissioner also issued a show cause notice to the Land and Building Department official asking why maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 be not levied upon him.Mr. Acharyulu recommended to the public authority to consider the issue “seriously” as the Commission has been hearing excuse of missing files on many occasions and also to initiate action under Public Records Act, 1993 against responsible persons.“The public authority also has a duty to designate an officer as records officer and protect the records. A thorough search for the file, inquiry to find out public servant responsible, disciplinary action and action against under Public Records Act, reconstruction of alternative file, relief to the person affected by the loss of file are the basic actions the public authority is legitimately expected to perform,” he said.He said, prima facie, public authority cannot deny the right of the appellant by putting forward an excuse of the missing file.“If the file is really not traceable, it reflects the inefficient and pathetic management of files by the Public Authority. If the file could not be traced in spite of best efforts, it is the duty of the respondent authority to reconstruct the file or develop a mechanism to address the issue raised by the appellant,” he said.
The DC and all PAs has to publish every year the work they carry out or the information they create under 4(1) (a) (b) (c) every day ,but it did not published all the work carried out by the DC under section 4(1) (a) (b) (c) (d) of RTI Act 2005 and it has not provided citizens and opportunity to ask the reasons under section 4(1) (d) . This information and reasons need to be provided to everybody as per Guide on RTI to Information Act 2005 published by the Government of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training (available here :http://rti.gov.in/RTICorner/Guideonrti.pdf) on page 12 and Para 9, following is stated: Providing Reasons for Decisions: The public authorities take various administrative and quasi-judicial decisions which affect the interests of certain persons. It is mandatory for the concerned public authority to provide reasons for such decisions to the affected persons. It may be done by using appropriate mode of communication .Attention is also invited towards the thread 'affected person ' under rti act.In fact, it can be said that "Affected" refers back to an action. The "Affected Persons" are the ones who are affected by that action. The reasons need to be given to affected person and copy of that can be given to me under 2 f of RTI Act. The KSOU office is THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY under obligation to provide information “PUBLICLY” under section 4(1) (a) (b) (c) (d). The state government and all its departments need to publish everything they do in year as per RTI Act 2005 and this need to be published every year and applicant asking information becomes easier to provide also to the applicant and Government becomes transparent .