Can a state information commissioner overturn his own order penalising a public information officer (PIO) for giving wrong information to an RTI applicant? Such an action by Tamil Nadu information commissioners Christopher Nelson and P Tamil Selvan in 2013 still begs for answer.
It all started with an RTI application from Ashok Kothari who wanted to know about a suspected illegal construction in Choolai. The PIO of zone 9 of Chennai Corporation submitted to Kothari in 2009 that the encroacher had obtained a stay order from the Madras high court. The information turned out to be wrong, and Kothari demanded action against the corporation official. The state information commission asked for an explanation as to why penal action should not be taken against the PIO.