Withholding answers: PIO at district health office issued show-cause notice

Published: March 4, 2016


PESHAWAR: The Right to Information (RTI) Commission issued a show-cause notice to the public information officer (PIO) at the city district health office for failing to disclose information upon request.

According to a copy of the notice available with The Express Tribune, it was served to Dr Arshad Rashid in February after he failed to provide information to Kamran. The latter had submitted an application to the RTI Commission on February 19, 2015 and requested information regarding BPS-1 to BPS-4 employees who had retired over the last five years.

Kamran had also requested information about people who fell under the 25% quota allotted for the children of the retired employees. As per the notice, Rashid was asked to explain why he should not be fined Rs25,000 under Section 26(3)(b) of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013.

Under this clause, the RTI Commission has the power to impose a daily fine of up to Rs250 per day up to a maximum of Rs25,000 on any official who hinders any activity required to be undertaken by the RTI act. This includes prevention or delay in the disclosure of information to anyone who makes a request for it.

According to the notice, the PIO is required to submit a reply within 14 days. If he or she fails to do so within the allotted timeframe, the RTI Commission will “assume he has no cause to show”.

Failure to disclose

After the PIO failed to disclose the requested information, Kamran filed a complaint with the RTI Commission on March 4. On March 19, the commission directed Rashid to provide the information to the complainant and provide reasons for the failure to disclose. However, the PIO failed to comply with the orders.

Rashid was asked to appear before the commission. Subsequently, Kamran was provided information. The complainant realised he had not been provided information he had requested for.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2016.

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