1. The State Information Commission, under section 18 of the Act, has the duty to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person –
- who has not been able to submit a request for information to a PIO because the PIO has not been appointed, or the PIO has refused to accept his application; or
- who has been refused information that was requested; or
- who has been required to pay an amount of fee that he considers unreasonable; or
- who believes that the information given to him is incomplete or false or misleading.
2. The Commission, while inquiring into any matter under section 18 of the Act shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil Court in respect of the following matters:
- summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
- requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
- receiving evidence on affidavit;
- requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office;
- issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents; and
- any other matter which may be prescribed.
3. The Commission may admit a second appeal filed under section 19(3) of the Act against a decision of the PIO on any request for information or on the first appeal filed before the First Appellate Authority under section 19(1) of the Act, and after such admission hear the appeal as per prescribed procedure and pass such order thereon as considered just and appropriate. The decision of the Commission on such appeal, shall be binding.
4. While deciding an appeal under section 19(3) of the Act, the Commission has the power to:
- Require the public authority to take steps, including:
- providing access to information in a particular form;
- directing the public authority to appoint a PIO where none exists;
- publishing information or categories of information;
- making necessary changes to the practices relating to management, maintenance and destruction of records ;
- enhancing training provisions for officials on RTI;
- seeking an annual report from the public authority in compliance of section 4(1)(b) of the Act.
- Require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss
or other detriment suffered.
- Impose penalties under section 20 of the Act.
- Reject the application.
5. The Commission, while deciding any complaint or appeal, may impose penalty on the PIO, if it is of the opinion that the PIO, without any reasonable cause, has:
- refused to receive an application for information; or
- not furnished information within the time specified; or
- malafidely 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.
The penalty so imposed is Rs. 250/- per day till the application is received or information is furnished, subject to an upper limit of Rs. 25000/-
Before imposing any penalty, the Commission shall give the PIO a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
The Commission, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal may also recommend for disciplinary action against the PIO under the service rules applicable to him.