Refusal to provide information to a citizen and liability under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation

Refusal to provide a citizen with information is a direct violation of Constitutional law, and for such actions the perpetrators face criminal or administrative liability. This is directly stated in Article 24 of the Constitution, which explicitly states that any self-government bodies and government agencies, as well as officials, should not prevent citizens from becoming familiar with information directly related to their rights and freedoms. The only exception: situations provided for by current legislation.

Let's consider in what cases failure to provide information becomes an administrative offense or a criminal offense.

Basic Concepts

Modern society is structured in such a way that people constantly need information.
Information may be of a different nature, but it is required to be provided to a person in the manner prescribed by law. The right to receive the necessary information is enshrined in the Constitution:

  • Article No. 24 part 2 - obliges officials not to interfere with citizens’ familiarization with various materials and documents;
  • Article 29, parts 4 and 5 - gives citizens the right to operate received data within the legal framework and guarantees the freedom to disseminate information of a mass nature.

Situations when a person makes an official request to receive certain information, and he is unreasonably refused to receive it, is an illegal action.

Important! The exception is classified information intended only for a limited circle of people. Download for viewing and printing:

Constitution of the Russian Federation December 12, 1993

Article 24 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation

Wrongful refusal: criminal liability or administrative offense

Responsibility for violation of the above Constitutional rights is provided for in Article 140 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and 5.39 of the Code of Administrative Offences.
In general, these articles are the same, but there are some nuances that distinguish between an administrative violation and a crime. Criminal liability occurs in the following cases:

  • unlawful refusal to provide documents and materials collected by officials (bodies, organizations) that directly affect the rights/freedoms of a citizen;
  • distortion of information or provision of false information or incomplete data.

In both cases, a prerequisite for criminal liability is the infliction of harm to legitimate interests/human rights by such acts.

As part of an administrative offense, there is liability for:

  1. Illegal refusal to provide citizens, including lawyers (based on a lawyer’s request), or organizations with information, the provision of which is provided for by federal legislation.
  2. Late provision or provision of knowingly false data.

Here, harm or other consequences are not required. The fact itself is enough.

Based on the above, the composition of the crime changes: formal and material. In the first case, an article of the Criminal Code will be applied to the culprit, under which a fine of up to 200,000 rubles and a ban on working in specified positions for 2-5 years may be imposed.

Administrative liability includes a fine of 5,000-10,000 rubles.

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Article 140 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation dated June 13, 1996 N 63-FZ (as amended on February 19, 2018)

Another comment on Art. 140 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

1. The subject of the crime is documents and materials located in state authorities or local government bodies and collected in the established (i.e. only legal) manner that directly affect the rights and freedoms of a citizen (for example, materials of official investigations, prosecutorial checks, etc. .), as well as incomplete or deliberately false information in such documents and materials.

2. The objective side is characterized by alternatively provided inaction (illegal refusal to provide documents and materials collected in the prescribed manner that directly affect the rights and freedoms of a citizen, in any form) or action (providing incomplete or deliberately false information in such documents and materials), resulting from the commission of an act, the consequence (harm to the rights and legitimate interests of citizens) and the causal relationship between the act and the consequence. The methods of committing a crime can be different (for example, direct refusal to provide information or evasion of providing it) and do not affect qualifications.

3. The crime is completed from the moment the consequences occur in the form of harm to the rights and legitimate interests of citizens.

Characteristics of the crime

Let us consider the criminal legal features of such crimes.

Specifics of the offense

Refusal to provide data is open in nature: the official shows open reluctance to provide any information upon request.
Moreover, the form of such disagreement no longer plays a decisive role: it is made orally or in writing. This includes providing deliberately false information. It will also be considered an offense when false information is contained only in part of the requested materials.

Features of the crime

If we consider such crimes in the legal framework of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, then the corpus delicti will be material, which is expressed in direct causing harm.
At the same time, the harm itself and its forms are not specified by law. Consequently, this can include property damage, for example, a bank employee kept silent about the fact that there was an outstanding balance on the loan, on which interest began to increase. Another example is that a person missed the queue for housing or did not take measures to treat a dangerous disease without receiving up-to-date information in a timely manner. In addition, this can also include moral harm, which is expressed in the lack of state protection of the rights and personal interests of citizens.

However, here we can highlight an interesting nuance, which actually creates the basis for a crime: a citizen must independently make a request and be refused to provide the information of interest.

Important! In practice, it looks like this: if a citizen does not personally contact the bank to obtain a certificate of no debt, while interest is accruing on the balance, then this is not a criminal offense. On the other hand, if the victim has an official response in hand stating that the loan has been repaid in full, and subsequently he will be presented with a demand for repayment of interest, then the elements of a crime are clearly visible here.

Subjective side

This implies premeditation of the actions of the accused: the official understands that he is obliged to provide information, but does not do so for some reason.
At the same time, such a citizen is fully aware that he is violating the norms of current legislation. Please note that the motives that led to the offense are not taken into account. Let us add that the subject of such atrocities is always a special one - officials whose duty is to ensure unhindered access of citizens to databases.


This may include the actions or inaction of an official that caused the requester to not be provided with information in full.
It could be:

  • ignoring;
  • intentional distortion of data;
  • partial concealment of important information;
  • failure to comply with the deadlines allotted by the instructions for processing the request.

Corpus delicti

It is considered in the general context of those crimes that are committed against the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. The damage caused in this case can be not only moral, but also property if, as a result of the incident, a person did not receive payment on time or in incomplete amount.

Moral harm is expressed in neglect or humiliation of the dignity and honor of an individual.

If, as a result of the refusal to provide documents, there were no consequences for the citizen himself, then it will be impossible to hold accountable the official who allowed this to happen. Disciplinary action will be taken against him and that will be all.

How to file a police report? You can read about it here.

The object of the act in this case is the rights, freedoms and interests of not only the citizens of the country itself, but also those persons who have another citizenship or no citizenship at all.

Such an offense involves serious sanctions for the official.

The objective side of the issue is those actions or inactions that were taken by the official, and the connection that arose between the act itself and the consequences that arose because of it.

The subject of this offense is those documents and materials the provision of which was refused. This may be a refusal to provide data orally, but the main thing is that it is expressed openly.

Its subject is the government employee who refused to issue them to the citizen on an illegal basis. The subjective side includes guilt, in the form of direct or indirect intent in relation to the person who suffered damage in any form as a result. If it is established that the guilt was in the form of direct intent, then this will be considered an aggravating circumstance.

How to appeal a refusal

Having received a refusal, a citizen has the right to file a complaint with higher authorities, supervisory organizations or executive authorities. There is a certain procedure for this.

Sample application

Let's start with the fact that there is no prescribed form for such requests, so each organization can have an individual form to fill out. However, regardless of this, the complaint must be substantiated, with mandatory references to specific violations.

Procedure for compilation

Regardless of the form, the following information must be displayed in the body of the complaint:

  • circumstances of refusal;
  • indication of the specific official who committed the offense;
  • requirement to take appropriate measures: release of materials upon request, bringing the perpetrator to justice.

In addition, you must provide your contact information.

Where to contact

If government officials refuse to provide information to citizens, you can contact:

  • higher authority or supervisory authority;
  • prosecutor's office;
  • court.

Concept of wrongful refusal

According to Part 2 of Article 24 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, anyone can obtain the data they need from government agencies, as well as officials who work in these structures.

Federal Law No. 24 defines access and use of data sources. It also interprets the types of information to which a citizen has the right: data about objects/phenomena/facts/events, regardless of the form of provision.

It is also very important to know that the provision of information should be done free of charge. If an employee of any government agency tries to demand money from you in any form, then we can already talk about another type of crime - bribery.

Refusal to provide information makes the official liable before the law.

For example, you were refused to familiarize yourself with the materials of the case that is being conducted against you, although you need to do this, and you have a completely objective goal for this.

Of course, all rules have their exceptions. In this case, it applies to those materials that are open only to a certain circle of people. It should also be taken into account that the right to receive data can only be limited by federal laws, but not by regional regulations.

In all other cases, the citizen is obliged to provide the data he requests, otherwise it runs counter to his constitutional rights.

How information may be refused can manifest itself in different ways. Here are several cases when you can suspect an employee of a particular structure that he does not want to provide you with certain data:

  • silence or simple refusal to communicate (can be motivated by a variety of reasons that did not have any legal or factual basis);
  • avoiding conversation at all costs;
  • lying about not having or accessing the data;
  • silence in response to a request.

Legal practice

Citizen A purchased a phone on credit through a mobile phone store.
The debt was fully repaid within 12 months, according to the terms of the loan agreement. After some time, bailiffs came to A with a court order to collect the loan debt in the amount of 25,000 rubles. Citizen A filed a claim with the court that she was provided with false information. Considering the fact that the plaintiff did not have evidence of her appeal and the bank’s refusal to provide information, the legal proceedings were rejected for lack of corpus delicti.

Liability for unlawful refusal

The offense will be considered completed if the citizen, as a result of criminal activity or inaction of an employee of a government agency, has suffered harm in any form.

According to Article 140 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, an official may be sentenced to the following types of punishment:

  • payment of a fine of up to 200,000 rubles. or salary for one and a half years ;
  • ban on holding certain positions for a period of 2 to 5 years .

These types of preventive measures were not chosen by chance. They are designed to teach the offending employee responsibility and prevent such negligence from happening in the future.

If it is established that the citizen is guilty under Article 5.39 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, then we will be talking about a fine ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 rubles.

They may also be subject to disciplinary action or other sanctions from the superiors of the official who made the mistake.

When do Article 5.39 of the Code of Administrative Offenses and Article 140 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation apply? The second is used if the injured citizen has suffered significant harm. To do this, you will need to provide in court any material evidence of the guilt of a government employee.

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