The retired PIO, who cited Section 8 to deny information, will now have to pay the fine amount from his monthly pension
The chief information commissioner (CIC) has fined a former public information officer (PIO) of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for denying and delaying information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The matter relates to the RTI application dated 21 September 2010 by Paritosh Kumar of Patna, who sought information from the EPFO's zonal office. MM Das, who was the assistant provident fund commissioner as well as the PIO for the EPFO office at the time, in his reply to the application on 14 October 2010, cited Section 8 of the RTI Act to deny some information.
Mr Kumar complained to CIC, Shailesh Gandhi, that even the chief PIO (CPIO) denied him the information, again citing Section 8 in a summary manner, without providing details of the sub-section of Section 8, or giving any reason for claiming an exemption from providing the information.
During the hearing on the complaint on 13 July 2011, the CIC observed that Mr Das did not provide the required information in complete form. "From the facts before the Commission, it appears that Mr MM Das is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7, by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act. He has further refused to obey the orders of his superior officer, which raises a reasonable doubt that the denial of information may also be malafide."
The CIC also asked Mr Das to appear on 9th August and submit proof of providing information to Mr Kumar. In a written submission, Mr Das stated that he wanted to claim exemption under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act and that by mistake he wrote only Section 8. However, the Commission said it did not see how Section 8(1)(h) applies to the queries sought by Mr Kumar. It said, "It is evident that the respondent (Mr Das), without any application of mind, refused to provide the information. He did not even consider it necessary to explain the reasons how he felt that the information was exempt."
According to Section 19 (5) of the RTI Act, in any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a denial of a request is justified rests with the CPIO, or state PIO, who denies the request. Therefore, if the information is not provided within specified time and without giving any reason, the Commission levies a penalty of Rs250 per day, till the information is provided.
In the case of Mr Kumar, he received the information required only on 29 July 2011, after the order from the CIC. Although, the delay was more than 100 days, the Commission imposed the maximum penalty of Rs25,000, under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, on Mr Das who was then PIO.
The CIC stated in its order, "The Central Provident Fund Commissioner, EPFO is directed to recover the amount of Rs25,000 from the pension of Mr MM Das and remit the same by a demand draft or a Banker's Cheque in the name of the Pay & Accounts Officer, CAT, payable at New Delhi and send the same to Shri Pankaj KP Shreyaskar, Joint Registrar and Deputy Secretary of the Central Information Commission, 2nd floor, August Kranti Bhawan, New Delhi. The amount may be deducted at the rate of Rs2,500 per month, every month, from the Pension of Mr MM Das, and remitted by the 10th of every month starting from September 2011. The total amount of Rs25,000 will be remitted by 10 June, 2012."
It is evident from this ruling, that a public information officer cannot shirk his/her responsibility and may have to pay a fine for any negligence or wrongdoing, even after his/her retirement.
Nifty to see some gains up to 5,200, if it holds on to the support at 5,050
The domestic market opened higher on supportive global cues, after the positive close on Wall Street overnight gave a boost to the Asian markets in morning trade. The Nifty resumed 56 points higher at 5,194, and the Sensex opened trade at 17,247, up 188 points from its previous close. The opening figures on both benchmarks were their intra-day highs.
However, the market couldn't sustain the opening gains and the indices gradually slipped into the negative, within an hour, on selling pressure. The indices ventured into the green again for a short while, in mid-morning trade, but then again succumbed to profit taking. They continued to drift further southwards and got worse as European indices gave up their initial gains.
The indices fell to their intra-day lows in noon trade, ignoring the higher industrial output data for June that showed an 8.8% growth. At the lows, the Nifty went back to 5,053 and the Sensex fell below the 17,000 mark to 16,785. The market was range-bound in late trade. At the close, the Nifty stood at 5,073, down 65 points and the Sensex fell 220 points to 16,840.
If the Nifty support at 5,050 breaks, the fall could be sharp. As long as the support holds, a move up to 5,200 is possible.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 553:851.
In the broader market space, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.46% and the BSE Small-cap index lost 0.44%.
All sectoral gauges settled in the negative. The losers were led by BSE IT (down 2.44%, BSE TECk (down 2.24%), BSE Bankex (down 1.63%), BSE Realty (down 1.49%) and BSE Power (down 1.14%).
The top gainers on the Sensex were Jindal Steel (up 2.57%), Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.82%), Hero MotoCorp (up 1.79%), ONGC (up 0.76%) and Hindustan Unilever (up 0.17%). The key losers were Tata Motors (down 5.26%), Hindalco Industries (down 4.04%), Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.28%), Tata Power (down 3.12%) and Wipro (down 2.92%).
The best performers on the Nifty were Jindal Steel (up 2.74%), M&M (up 1.72%), Hero MotoCorp (up 1.65%), GAIL (up 1.40%) and Cairn India (up 1.07%). The laggards of the index were Tata Motors (down 5.88%), Hindalco (down 4.90%), Reliance Capital (down 4.74%), JP Associates (down 3.89%) and Kotak Bank (down 3.39%).
Markets in Asia shed some of the gains to end mixed, as investors were cautious on fresh debt issues in Europe. In economic news, bank lending in China slowed in July to a seven-month low, after monetary authorities tightened policy.
The Shanghai Composite gained 0.45%, the Hang Seng advanced 0.13%, the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.55%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.49% and the Straits Times jumped 1.94%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.20%, the Seoul Composite tanked 1.33% and the Taiwan Weighted slipped 0.16%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs59.79 crore on Thursday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs266.25 crore.
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Thursday granted Reliance Infrastructure the license to transmit and distribute power in suburban Mumbai for the next 25 years. MERC has also granted it the license to transmit power in the region. The stock closed at Rs479.35 on the NSE, down 0.87% from its previous close.
Pharma major Ranbaxy Laboratories today said its over-the-counter (OTC) division has launched a two-in-one painkiller, 'Volini Duo', across the country. The product has been developed by scientists at the company's Gurgaon R&D centre, using matrix technology, which enables the regulated release of the medicine in the gastrointestinal tract, the company said. The stock declined by 1.61% to settle at Rs482.35 on the NSE.
Apparel firm Provogue India today said it will demerge its real estate business into a newly incorporated entity. As a part of a corporate restructuring plan, the company will also merge its subsidiary Prozone Enterprises with the new entity. The company's stock gained 1.16% to end at Rs30.60 on the NSE.
The domestic market will reopen only on Tuesday after the Independence Day holiday on Monday.
The net profit was boosted by a one-time gain on sale of its stakes in Australian mining firm Riversdale and Tata Refractories
Mumbai: Tata Steel today reported nearly three-fold jump in consolidated net profit at Rs5,346.55 crore for the quarter ended 30 June, buoyed by mainly a one-time gain on sale of its stakes in Australian mining firm Riversdale and Tata Refractories, reports PTI.
The company had reported a net profit of Rs1,825.26 crore during the corresponding quarter of last fiscal.
Net sales of the company also rose by 21.58% to Rs32,839.90 crore during the quarter under review compared to Rs27,010.06 crore, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
It added that in the April-June quarter, the company realised Rs4,942.07 crore (A$1,060 million) by selling its entire 26.27% stake in the Riversdale to Rio Tinto.
Of this, the company included Rs2,879.29 crore as one time profit in its results from the sale of its stake in Riversdale, the filing further said.
Besides this, the company also made a profit of Rs511.01 crore by selling its stake in Tata Refractories to Krosaki Harima Corporation, an associate firm of Nippon Steel of Japan.
Tata Steel, in May, had offloaded 51% stake in group company Tata Refractories to Krosaki Harima and inducted the Japanese firm as a strategic partner. The deal was valued at Rs576.30 crore, going by the Tata Refractories' (TRL) valuation at Rs1,130 crore.
During the quarter, the company's cost on raw materials increased by 43.84% at Rs11,227.73 crore, while its interest payments also went up by 23.43% to Rs737.66 crore, the filing said.
On standalone basis, the company reported a net profit of Rs2,219.43 crore, registering a growth of 40.52% during the April-June quarter vis-à-vis Rs1,579.39 crore it had reported in Q1 of FY10-11, the filing added.
Standalone net sales of the company also went up by 20.41% during the quarter under review at Rs7,792.20 crore as compared to Rs6,471.27 crore of the corresponding period of last fiscal.
Shares of the company closed at Rs476.35 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange, down 1.69% from the previous close.