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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Punjab Info commissioners to hold courts in districts

Rohit Mullick TNN : Chandigarh: In order to facilitate the complainants, who are denied information sought under the Right to Information Act and for the speedy disposal of cases, the State Information Commission of Punjab (SICP) has decided to hold its courts in the districts as well. The state information commissioners besides hearing the cases in Chandigarh will start holding courts in the district headquarters from next month.Chief information commissioner Rajan Kashyap said, “It will help complainants in the districts who otherwise have to travel to Chandigarh for court hearings.” Kashyap said the disposal rate of cases would also pick up if courts were also held in the district headquarters. The SICP move has also come in the wake of the appointment of four new state information commissioners with which the total number has gone to eight. The information commissioners who were appointed last month are PK Grover, Ravi Singh, Kulbir Singh and PPS Gill. According to SICP officials, the recruitment of these officials had made it easier for the commission to decide on holding courts in the districts also. Officials said the move would not only help the petitioners but also result in speedy disposal of cases because number of times complainants and even government officers fail to appear before the benches and thereby cause pendancy. In the last about over one year, the commission has received 1,500 cases including 254 appeals under Section 19 of the RTI Act and 1,245 complaints under Section 18 of the Act for denial of information and no response respectively. The Commission has disposed of 610 cases and the rest 889 are still pending with it.
Commission imposes Rs 50,000 penalty
The State Information Commission has imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the public information officer of Ludhiana-based Punjab State Federation of Cooperative House Building Society for delaying supply of information to a petitioner. According to officials, the PIO delayed the supply of information for 173 days and also did not appear before the commission despite several notices and reminders. In its order, the Commission has also directed the registrar of Cooperative Societies, Punjab, to ensure the recovery of penalty from the concerned PIO in case he does not deposit the fine in the state treasury. Publication: Times Of India Chandigarh; Date:2007 Feb 23; Section:Times Nation; Page Number 6

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