Information Commissioners across the country caused a loss of Rs. 86 crores to the exchequer during the last fiscal by not imposing penalties in cases where they should have under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a study released here Thursday said.
Public Cause Research Foundation studied 76,813 orders passed by 87 information commissioners and joint benches of 27 states. Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand could not be included in the study as they refused to provide any information.
‘Information commissioners caused a loss of Rs. 86 crores and this loss is estimated only on account of delay in providing information to applicants,’ found the study.
The study said that if all the penalties were actually imposed, the running of the information commissions would not have been a burden on the exchequer but be a revenue generating source.
Under RTI Act, a commissioner has to impose a penalty for delays in providing information unless the basis of delay was held to be reasonable by the Commissioner.
‘Out of 76,813 cases analysed, there was a delay in providing information in 59,631 cases. Out of these, penalties were imposed in just 1896 cases (3.17 percent cases),’ it said.
Overall, the performance of commissions across the country as far as imposing penalties goes is abysmal, the study added.