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Powers and Functions – CIC

Complaints

It shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, to

  1. Receive and inquire into a complaint from any person:
  2. Who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer either by reason that no such officer has been appointed, or because the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal for forwarding the same to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or senior officer or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission as the case may be.
  3. Who has been refused access to any information requested.
  4. Who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified.
  5. Who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable.
  6. Who believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information.
  7. In respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to record.
  8. Where the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, it may initiate an inquiry.
  9. The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:—
  10. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things;
  11. Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
  12. Receiving evidence on affidavit;
  13. Requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office;
  14. Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and
  15. Any other matter, which may be prescribed.

Appeals 


 Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority, provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of
thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient
cause from filing the appeal in time.

Where an appeal is preferred against an order made by a Central Public
Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order.

A second appeal against the decision shall lie within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was
actually received, with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.

If the decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public
Information Officer, as the case may be, against which an appeal is preferred relates to information of a third party, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to that third party.

In any appeal proceeding, the onus to prove that a denial of a request was
justified shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, who denied the request.

An appeal shall be disposed of within thirty days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of forty-five days from the date of filing thereof, as the case may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing.

The decision of the Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding.

In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, has the power to  Require the public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of this Act, including:

  1. By providing access to information, if so requested, in a particular form;
  2. By appointing a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be;
  3. By publishing certain information or categories of information;
  4. By making necessary changes to its practices in relation to the maintenance, management and destruction of records;
  5. By enhancing the provision of training on the right to information for its officials;
  6. By providing it with an annual report in compliance.

The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall give notice of its decision, including any right of appeal, to
the complainant and the public authority.

The Central Information Commission or State Information
Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with
such procedure as may be prescribed.

Penalties 
Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information
Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or mala fidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees, provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him.

Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public
Information Officer has, without any reasonable cause and persistently, failed to receive an application for information or has not furnished
information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall recommend for disciplinary action against the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, under the service rules applicable to him.

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