PIO DC Office

Appointment of PIO:

  • Sect. 2(f): “Public Information Officer” means a public information officer designated under section 7 of the Act.
  • Sect. 7: Designation of Public Information Officers
  1. A public body shall, within sixty days of the commencement of this Act, designate and notify as many officers as public information officers in all administrative units or offices under it, as may be necessary.
  2. Subject to the provisions of this Act, a public information officer shall provide information to an applicant, and shall perform such other functions as may be prescribed to achieve the purpose of this Act.
  3. The public information officer may seek necessary assistance of any other officer of the public body.
  4. Any officer whose assistance has been sought under subsection (3) shall render all assistance to the public information officer seeking his assistance and for purposes of any contravention of the provisions of this Act, Such other officer shall be deemed as public information officer.

Role of PIO:

  • PIO is practically back bone of RTI Law citizens first of all approach him for disclosure of public information. He is their guide as well as facilitator. He is practically a bridge between the citizens and public bodies.

Duties of PIO:

                Question: Whether PIO is bound to seek the permission of administrative head before disclosure of information?

  • Sect. 10: Application Procedure
  1. An applicant may make an application to a public information officer on an information request form or on plain paper and the public information officer shall acknowledge receipt of the application.
  2. A public body shall make easily available to the public the information request form both in printed and electronic form.
  3. An Applicant shall not be required to provide reasons for request for information and shall only be required to provide an adequate description of the information and the details necessary to provide the requisite information.
  4. Where an applicant is having difficulty making a request, including because he cannot describe the information in sufficient detail or because he is disabled or illiterate, the concerned public information officer shall provide reasonable assistance to the applicant.
  5. Where an applicant has indicated a preferred form of access, including a physical copy, an electronic copy or an opportunity to inspect documents, the public body shall provide access in that form unless doing so is likely to interfere with its operations or harm the document and in that case the information shall be provided in such form as may serve the purpose.
  6. The public body shall not charge any fee for making a request other than cost of reproducing or sending the information in accordance with a centrally set schedule of costs stipulated by the Commission.
  7. The public information officer shall respond to an application as soon as possible and in any case within fourteen working days, provided that this may be extended by a maximum of a further fourteen working days where this is necessary, including because the request requires a search through a large number of records or consultation with a third party or any other public body, but the public information officer shall provide the information relating to life or liberty of a person within two working days of the receipt of the application
  8. .Where the public information officer decides not to provide the information; he shall intimate to the applicant the reasons for such decision along with a statement that the applicant may file an internal review or a complaint against the refusal under this Act.
  9. The information from, or the copy of, any public record supplied to the applicant under subsection (1) shall contain a certificate at the foot thereof that the information is correct or the copy is a true copy of such public record, and such certificate shall be dated, signed and stamped by the public information officer.
  • Rule 5: Application for Information and its Disposal
  1. Any citizen of Pakistan or a legal person may apply on a plain paper or by using the sample of the  application form, as may be prescribed by the Commission;
  1. for inspecting any work or record;
  2. taking notes or extracts of official record;
  3. obtaining certified photocopy of any document or record;
  4. any information in electronic form; or
  5. Obtaining certified sample of any material available with a public body.

 

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Transfer of Application:

  • Sect. 11: Transfer of Application
  1. Where an officer of a public body other than the concerned public information officer receives an application for access to information, such officer shall immediately transfer the application to the concerned public information officer under intimation to the applicant and the public information officer shall process the application as if he had received it under section 10.
  2. If the information or part of the information requested in an application is not available with the public body or the office of the public body, the public information officer shall, within seven days and under intimation to the applicant, transfer the application to the public information officer to whom the application should have been made for provision of the information or part of the information.
  3. If the public information officer does not know the public body or the office where the requested information or part of the information may be available, he shall inform the applicant that the requested information or part of the information is not available with the public body.
  4. If an application is transferred to another public information officer under subsection (2), the other public information officer shall process the application as if the other public information officer received the application under section 10.

 

  • Rule 6: Transfer of Application
  1. An officer of a public body other than a public information officer who receives an application for access to information shall transfer the application to the public information officer under intimation to the applicant.
  2. The officer who receives an application under sub-rule (1) shall be deemed to be the public information officer and shall be liable for any penalty under the Act.
  3. A public information officer shall acknowledge receipt of a transferred application immediately after its receipt and process the same under the Act.

Basic Criteria for a PIO to decide about disclosure:

  • Sect. 2(f): "Public Information Officer" means a public information officer designated under section 7 of the Act.
  • Sect. 13: Exceptions
  1. A public information officer may refuse an application for access to information where disclosure of the information shall or is likely to cause harm to—
  1. National defense or security, public order or international relations of Pakistan;
  2. A legitimate privacy interest, unless the person concerned has consented to disclosure of the information;
  3. The protection of legally privileged information or of the rules relating to breach of confidence;
  4. The legitimate commercial interests of a public body or a third party, including information subject to third party intellectual property rights;
  5. The life, health or safety of any person;
  6.     The prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, or the administration of justice;
  7.     The ability of the Government to manage the economy; or
  8.     The effective formulation of or success of a policy either by its premature disclosure or by restraining the free and frank provision of advice within the Government.

Schedule of Cost:

A public Information Officer shall charge the cost for providing information to an applicant as per the following schedule;

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Description

Cost

1.

RTI Application

Nill

2.

Correspondence by PIO

Nill

3.

Cost of computer printed papers or photocopy charges up to 20 pages

Nill

4.

In Excess of 20 pages

Rs. 2 per Page

5.

Cost of CD, Diskette, floppy, cassette, video or any other electronic device containing information

Actual cost

6.

Inspection of any work

Nill

7.

Inspection of record/ document and/ or for taking notes or extracts

Rs. 10 for the first hour; and Rs. 5 for each extra 15 minutes.

 

When complaint/ Appeal can be filed against the order of PIO:

  • Rule 9: Application to the Commission
  1. An applicant may file a complaint to the Commission against the decision, attitude or non-responsiveness of the public information officer or the officer responsible for internal review in relation to what the applicant regards.

When PIO can be awarded penalty:

  • Sect. 15: Penalty

Where a public information officer has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application, has not furnished information within time limits, or malafidely denied the request or knowingly gave incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, the Commission may, after providing sufficient opportunity of defense to the public information officer, direct the public information officer to pay fine not exceeding two days' salary for each day of delay or to pay fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.