Govt clarifies on RTI delay

The State government on Saturday said there will not be any delay in replying to RTI applications.

In reply to a report in the Deccan Herald titled ‘Waiting for RTI replies just got longer’, which appeared on Saturday, the press secretary to the Chief Minister said the new rule of approaching the First Appellate Authority (FAA) and waiting for 45 days is meant only to prevent the influx of appeals directly to the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC).

The press note said it is the responsibility of the PIO to furnish information to the applicant within 30 days. However, there remains an ambiguity about when a person should approach the KIC in light of the new order, when the RTI Act says that a person is free to approach the KIC if the PIO fails to give information within 30 days or gives incomplete information.

As per the RTI Act, 2005, it is only the KIC that can levy penalty on the PIO and not the FAA.

The press note does not clarify whether the aggrieved person is entitled to file a complaint against the PIO for not providing information before 30 days until the FAA intervenes. An RTI activist, Vikram Simha, claims that a person denied information within 30 days can approach both the KIC and the FAA simultaneously.

“The FAA can provide information to the aggrieved party whereas levying penalty on the PIO is the prerogative of the KIC alone,” said Simha. Also the government has not made any provision to publish the list of the FAA in all the government departments.

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