The law does not require recommendation for disciplinary proceedings to be made

Manohar vs State of Maharashtra & Anr

Supreme Court

13/12/2012

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9095 OF 2012 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.7529 of 2009)

About/from the judgment:

All the attributable defaults of a Central or State Public Information Officer have to be without any reasonable cause and persistently. In other words, besides finding that any of the stated defaults have been committed by such officer, the Commission has to further record its opinion that such default in relation to receiving of an application or not furnishing the information within the specified time was committed persistently and without a reasonable cause. Use of such language by the Legislature clearly shows that the expression ‘shall’ appearing before ‘recommend’ has to be read and construed as ‘may’. There could be cases where there is reasonable cause shown and the officer is able to demonstrate that there was no persistent default on his part either in receiving the application or furnishing the requested information. In such circumstances, the law does not require recommendation for disciplinary proceedings to be made. It is not the legislative mandate that irrespective of the facts and circumstances of a given case, whether reasonable cause is shown or not, the Commission must recommend disciplinary action merely because the application was not responded to within 30 days. Every case has to be examined on its own facts. We would hasten to add here that wherever reasonable cause is not shown to the satisfaction of the Commission and the Commission is of the opinion that there is default in terms of the Section it must send the recommendation for disciplinary action in accordance with law to the concerned authority. In such circumstances, it will have no choice but to send recommendatory report. The burden of forming an opinion in accordance with the provisions of Section 20(2) and principles of natural justice lies upon the Commission.

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