Penalties

Are there any penalties for violating this Act?

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YES. If any person commits one of the following acts, the Commission can take that person before a court of law;

 a)  Knowingly prevents access to information or intentionally provides incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate information;

(b)  Destroys, invalidates, alters or totally or partially conceals information in his/her possession;

(c)  Fails or refuses to appear before the Commission when requested;

(d)  Appears before the Commission, but

(i) fails or refuses to be questioned by the Commission or

(ii) fails or refuses to produce any information which he/she has or

(iii) deliberately provides false information under oath or affirmation;

(e)  Fails or refuses to carry out a decision of the Commission;

(f)  Resists or obstructs the Commission or its employees from exercising their powers;

(g)  Discloses information in violation of the Act;

If a person commits any of the above, he/she is guilty of an offence. He/she will be prosecuted and if found guilty will be liable to a fine of fifty thousand rupees (Rs.50,000/=) or less or to imprisonment for a period of less than two years or to both a fine and imprisonment.

Additionally, if any other officer employed in a Public Authority refuses or fails without reasonable grounds, to extend his/her support and services to the Information Officer of that authority, he/she will also be guilty of an offence.

He/she will be tried by a court of law and if found guilty will be liable to a fine of ten thousand rupees (Rs.10,000/=) or less.

In addition to the above penalties, the guilty parties will also be subject to disciplinary control by the relevant disciplinary authorities within their institutions.

Can disciplinary action be taken against Information Officers and/or officers designated to receive appeals for violating this Act?

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YES. If any Information Officer;

(i)  refuses to receive a request for information;

(ii)  refuses a request for information, without giving reasons ;

(iii)  demands excessive fees; or

(iv)  by any other means fails to process a request for information;

the Commission can bring the matter to the notice of the person or entity exercising disciplinary control over the Information Officer.

Also, if any officer designated to receive appeals intentionally,

(i)  Refuses to entertain an appeal on any ground other than a ground under Section 5; or

(ii)  Without reason fails to make a decision on the appeal, within the stipulated time

the Commission can bring the matter to the notice of the person or entity exercising disciplinary control over the Designated Officer.

The person or entity exercising disciplinary control over the above officers is required to inform the Commission of the steps he/she/it has taken to address the matter within one (01) month.

Can an officer or employee of a Public Authority be punished for disclosing information?

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If the officer discloses information that is allowed to be disclosed under this Act, the officer cannot be subject to disciplinary or any other form of punishment.