Give info or face legal action
The Information Commission yesterday warned the government officials of legal action if they neglect providing information to the people under the Right to Information Act 2009.
"You have two options -- provide information or face legal action," Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Muhammad Zamir told several public officials during hearing of appeals.
The officials were facing appeals for alleged neglect in providing information or fitting out inaccurate data.
According to the act, the commission can fine a designated official an amount between Tk 50 and Tk 5,000 per day or recommend departmental action for not furnishing information.
Held at the commission's office in the capital yesterday, this was the fourth hearing by the body since its inception.
CIC including two of his fellow Information Commissioners MA Taher and Professor Sadeka Halim heard the appeals.
One of the appeals heard was of a Mosharraf Majhi of Banaripara who applied to the Department of Agricultural Extension of Barisal on May 31 last year through the upazila nirbahi officer for information on irrigation pumps, fertilisers and seeds distributed to the farmers and the list of trainees who underwent training during 2001-2010.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Haridash Shikari, however, did not provide any information within the stipulated time of 30 days.
Consequently, Majhi appealed to the commission which summoned the official concerned.
"The information applied for is nothing secret or involves the state's sovereignty. You must provide the information by April 10," the CIC told Shikari, saying they were still showing mercy which would not repeat.
"Don't force us to take legal action," warned Zamir.
Asaduzzaman, project coordinator of Social Activities for Environment (SAFE), in his plea said he sought information from the Department of Labour in Khulna on the number of shrimp processing plants that implemented minimum wage.
The department came up with information saying 39 units implemented it. Of these, one was actually in Chittagong, Asaduzzaman told the commission.
But according to SAFE findings, only 34 factories were in operation while the rest were closed.
Asked about it, the then deputy chief inspector of the labour department, Belayet Hossain said he misspelled the name of a factory.
He also added that he considered drivers and employees of five factories as workers which made him count 39 units.
Muhammad Zamir said employees of a factory are not workers. He ordered Belayet to provide accurate information by Tuesday next week.
Faridul Islam, deputy chief inspector of labour department in Khulna and Aminul Islam, chief inspector of the department, were also present. The commissioners rebuked them.
Until yesterday, the commission disposed of 19 appeals while another 13 are pending with it.