Our right to know is a no-no for Kerala's information commission

Strict laws pertaining to the Right To Information (RTI) notwithstanding, denying information has become a norm among different government officials.
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KOZHIKODE: Strict laws pertaining to the Right To Information (RTI) notwithstanding, denying information has become a norm among different government officials.

According to a report by the State Information Commission (SIC), 524 information officers of various government departments were penalised between January 2007 to October 2016 for not providing information sought by applicants under RTI Act. SIC had also imposed a total fine of  Rs. 39,71,565 on them.

“Officials who deliberately delay/obstruct an application for information or deliberately provide incorrect or misleading information, or overcharge the applicant will be punished under the RTI laws. Apart from the monetary penalty, the information commission also recommends disciplinary action against defaulters in some cases,” said State Public Information Officer Sherli P.

“It is observed that officials of the Local Self Governing bodies have constituted a major share of the defaulters,” she said. As per the data, 42 grama panchayat officials were penalised in the aforementioned period for delays in providing information.

The penalty for a delayed response is  Rs. 250 per day. According to the SIC report, `14.41 lakh is yet to be remitted to the government by officials who were penalised.

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