If you are not satisfied by the reply to your application then you have every right to lodge a complaint against the concerned body
You can file a complaint about a public information officer or public body on one or more of following grounds:
- If access to information is wrongfully denied
- If information is not provided within the stipulated time
- If PIO refused to receive and process your request
- If you have been provided with false, misleading or incomplete information
- If you have been charged fee or cost for provision of information in excess of the requisite fee
- If information has been deliberately destroyed to avoid its disclosure
- Failure of a public body to implement the provisions regarding proactive disclosure
- Violation of any other provision of the Act by a public body
The complainant has two avenues:
- Request for internal review from the Head of Public Body
- File your complaint to Punjab Information Commission.
You can choose to first file your request for internal review, or write to the Commission if after the internal review you are still not happy, or write directly to the Commission (i.e. you can skip the ‘internal review’ process).
Addressing the Head of concerned public body (e.g.Secretary Education, Punjab Education Department), you should write your complaint on a piece of paper, stating the problem/issue (e.g. ‘The Public Information Officer denied my RTI request and I’m not satisfied with the reason given’), and provide all the relevant details (e.g. requested information, name of the concerned PIO, the response you received and dates). You should also attach copies of the relevant documents like copy of the postal receipt or any reply received from the public information officer or any other relevant evidence. You should also mention the action you want to be taken (e.g. ‘I would like my requested information to be provided to me’).
Complaint to Punjab Information Commission
The process of submitting complaint is the same as above. Just write your complaint on a paper, and give all the relevant details (the information you requested, the concerned public body, the name of the concerned PIO, the response you received, dates, and your name and contact details and then send/hand it to the Commission. You should also attach copies of the relevant documents like copy of the postal receipt or any reply received from the public information officer or any other relevant evidence.
The complaint letter should be addressed to the Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab Information Commission, Lahore. Click here for the contact details of Punjab Information Commission.
Actions on your complaint will be taken per following timelines:
|Seeking internal review by head of the public body||Within 60 days of receiving PIO’s response, OR from the date of expiry of prescribed time limit for PIO’s response||Complainant|
|Responding to request for internal review||Within 14 working days of receiving your request||Head of public body|
|Submitting complaint to the Punjab Information Commission||No time limit prescribed||Complainant|
|Responding to your complaint||30 working days, and a maximum of 60 working days – of receipt of complaint||Punjab Information Commissio|
The head of public body will take any of following decisions and inform you
- Agree with (confirm) the decision of the Public Information Officer
- Modify the decision of the Public Information Officer
- Reverse the decision (i.e. order that information should be given to you)
- The head of the public body could also order departmental action against the Public Information Officer concerned if he is found to be negligent in the performance of his duties under the law
Punjab Information Commission
Exercising the powers of a civil court, the Commission can issue summons for witnesses or documents, enforce attendance of persons to give evidence, examine and inspect information and so on. The Commission can uphold the decision of the public information officer, or it can uphold the complaint and order the public body to disclose the information. The Commission can also impose penalty or fine on officers, who delay, wrongfully deny or provide wrong or misleading information.