CIC imposes penalty on Bar Council of Delhi for “utter disregard for law”

Central Information Commission (CIC): The Bench comprising of Mr. Radha Krishna Mathur (Chief Information Commissioner), while hearing the second appeal with respect to an RTI applicant’s Bar enrollment request, imposed a penalty of Rs 5000 on Bar Council of Delhi for non-compliance of its orders.

The appellant – Shashi – had filed RTI application on 02-01-2017 seeking information as to whether the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) had received her request application submitted in December 2016; and seeking documents such as letters communicated and decision taken with respect to her request application, current status of her application; copy of resolutions and file notings in respect of fixation of fees for enrolment under different categories, etc. The instant second appeal is the result of no response being received by the appellant. Along with the grievance of receiving no reply, the appellant also pleaded that the BCD did not contain basic information/link pertaining to Right to Information.

Vide interim order dated 13-04-2018, CIC had ordered BCD to give a reply to the appellant within 15 days and directed CPIO to submit a report regarding non-compliance of suo-moto disclosure on BCD website as per Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005. On the next date of hearing, it was noted that the Commission’s order had not been complied with despite ample opportunity being given for the same.

It was observed that the CPIO, BCD was repeatedly making excuses for delay in giving information and he had also absented himself on multiple occasions from the hearings without affording any explanation for the same. The Commissioner observed that such lack of responsibility on the part of CPIO, BCD reflected his utter disregard for law. It was, therefore, concluded that the present case warranted the imposition of a penalty of Rs. 5000 on the CPIO, BCD for non-compliance of CIC’s order within the timeline prescribed under RTI Act. As the appellant had not explained any loss/ detriment suffered by her due to non-supply of information, therefore no compensation was awarded to her.[Shashi v. CPIO, BCD, Second Appeal No.CIC/MOLAJ/A/2017/140993 , decided on 09-10-2018]

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