Compensation under RTI Act can be awarded only when appeal is preferred and not merely on the basis of complaint

Central Information Commission: In a recent matter before the Commission, complainant filed RTI application with regard to his transfer application to which no response was given by CPIO or FAA. The complainant aggrieved of this filed a complaint praying before the Commission to compensate him under S. 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act.

The Commission closely scrutinised the prayer of the complainant and noted down clearly that prayer for compensation cannot be granted in a complaint case filed under Section 18 of the RTI Act. To support this, Mr. Amitava Bhattacharyya cited a 2013 judgment of Delhi High Court in Union of India v. P.K. Srivastava (LPA 195/2011, order dated 9.4.2013) in which it has been held that Section 19 doesn’t provide for grant of compensation merely on the basis of a complaint made to the Commission, without an appeal having been preferred to it. In the same case, Commissioner observed was held that the Commission could only have imposed penalty prescribed in Section 20(1), but could not have awarded any compensation under Section 19.

The Commission observed that the complainant had not prayed for grant of any penalty, but only compensation which is out of the purview of the provision as well as the Act. [Rajesh Kumar v. DGP, CPIO (Railway Board),  2017 SCC OnLine CIC 1361, decided on 17.08.2017]

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