Officials fined for denying information

Kathmandu, January 6

In a landmark verdict, the National Information Commission has taken legal action against executive chief and information officer of Birgunj Sub-metropolitan City for not providing information as demanded by an applicant.

Yashoda Timsina, NIC spokesperson and information commissioner, said a verdict to this effect was issued today against executive chief Pitambar Adhikari and information officer Prakashman Singh Amatya of BSIC after the commission deemed it reasonable to punish the duo. NIC is an independent body established for the implementation of Right to Information.

The NIC slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 each on Adhikari and Amatya and wrote to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development seeking departmental action against the officials under Section 32 (1) of the Act.  The verdict was issued by a bench of Chief Information Commissioner Krishnahari Baskota and information commissioners Kiran Pokharel and Timsina.

“The NIC found that both the executive chief and information officer had denied information despite repeated warning that they abide by the provisions stipulated in the RTI Act, 2007 and provide information to the applicant Ram Pukar Rauniyar.

The NIC was not satisfied with the clarifications furnished by the duo as to why they did not provide information to the applicant,” said Timsina.

Rauniyar had filed a petition against Adhikari and Amatya at the NIC on August 21, 2014. However, the NIC has not disclosed the subject matter of the information demanded by Rauniyar from BSMC.

“Adhikari and Amatya not only denied information to the application but also disregarded the directives issued by the NIC in a sheer violation of the RTI guaranteed by the constitution and the laws in force. Therefore, we felt it necessary to punish them as per the principles of natural law for the protection of citizens’ rights,” she said, adding that the verdict was expected to make government officials more responsible.