Ludhiana MC in soup in RTI case ‘goof-up’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/ludhiana-mc-in-soup-in-rti-case-goofup/

Ludhiana MC in soup in RTI case ‘goof-up’

A petition filed by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court landed itself in an embarrassing situation on Thursday.

A petition filed by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court landed itself in an embarrassing situation on Thursday.

RTI activist Balbir Aggarwal had filed an appeal in the Punjab State Information Commission against the MC and its public information officer (PIO) alleging that he was not provided information within the prescribed time period.

Following this,the State Information Commissioner (SIC) — vide its order November 9,2011 — imposed a penalty of Rs 15,000 on XEN (PIO) H S Khosa and Rs 5,000 on Legal Assistant,Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) Harish Bhagat. It also directed the Ludhiana MC to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to Aggarwal.

The order was challenged by the Ludhiana MC in a joint petition by Khosa and Bhagat. The petition came up for resumed hearing on Thursday before Justice Augustine George Masih.

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Counsel for the petitioners informed the Bench that Khosa and Bhagat were not the APIO or PIO of the health department of Ludhiana MC. The counsel,instead,claimed that while Amarjit Singh Sekhon was the PIO,Amrit Verma was the APIO of the department — though the two petitioners had been appearing before the SIC till date.

Justice Masih impleaded Sekhon and Verma as respondents and issued showcause notices asking why penalty should be not imposed on them. The court,however,did not accept the plea of the petitioners’ counsel to stay the penalty orders or the compensation payable by them.

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