Staff Reporter

`Officials who fail to fall in line will be penalised'

Officials have no right to question the locus standi of the citizen seeking informationMCH disposes of 20 of 39 petitions received

HYDERABAD: Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) C.D. Arha has directed officials of the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) to file a compliance report by first week of August on pending petitions before it under the Right to Information Act.

Interacting with them on Tuesday, Mr. Arha observed that most of the petitions had "no reason to be kept pending" and wanted expedite action. State Information Commissioners - A. Subba Rao and K. Sudhakar Rao - Officer on Special Duty K.R.W. Yesudas also participated.

MCH had received 39 petitions under the Act and 20 were disposed of. Five petitions were received at the CIC level.

Any piece of paper was valid for seeking information and no official had the right to question the locus standi of the citizen seeking information.

Even the Official Secrets Act ipso facto gets over-ruled by provisions of the RTI Act, he pointed out.

Any delay after 30 days of receiving the petition would be deemed as refusal to part with information, and Rs. 250 would be cut per day from the said official's salary, he reminded.

While the MCH online grievance system was welcome, he sought that pending RTI Act petitions, too, be kept online. The RTI Act was an "epochal legislation" reflecting a paradigm shift in governance and officials would have to re-orient their working style, he said.