Penalty for not replying to RTI applicant within the time limit

No reply was provided to the Complainant by the Assam University within the stipulated time frame and hence, a show-cause notice was issued to the PIO to explain in writing as to why action should not be initiated against him under Section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI Act. An explanation was provided that the CPIO is the nodal officer of the University for transmitting required information to the applicant. The CPIO acquires information from different wings of the University as supplied by the concerned officer. In the instant case, the matter processed and communicated by CPIO as obtained from other wings of the University and there was no intentional delay or dilatory tactics on the part of CPIO. The said information has already been obtained and communicated to the applicant. The CIC accepted the explanation tendered by the then PIO and found no reason to disbelieve him. The CIC observed that there is nothing on record to suggest that the PIO acted malafidely or failed to exercise due diligence.


If there is a delay by the deemed PIO, penalty may be imposed on him/her. Hence, it is the duty of the deemed PIO to ensure that the information is provided as per the provisions of the RTI Act.

Citation: Nirupam Deb v. Assam University, CIC/ASUVR/C/2021/643616; Date of Decision: 10.11.2022

Dr Anuradha Verma ( is a RTI Consultant currently working with IIM Visakhapatnam. She has co-authored the books, RTI Right to Information - Law and Practice and PIO’s Guide to RTI. She offers consultancy on RTI matters and Third party audit. Her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at the link


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