School teacher denied information on retirement, not paid compensation either

JULY 30: The Zilla Parishad education department, which was slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on May 29 by State Information Commissioner (SIC) for Pune Region Vijay Kuvalekar for denying information to school teacher Haribhau Jagannath Bagade under the Right To Information Act, has been sitting on the orders for the past two months.

In a letter to Kuvalekar, Bagade has said neither has the ED provided any information nor paid him the compensation. Kuvalekar had pulled up Public Information Officer (PIO) cum deputy education officer (secondary division) Dnyanoba Bhujbal and other officials over the issue.

Bagade, who worked as a secondary teacher in Swami Vivekanand Shikshan Sanstha’s Chhatrapati Vidyalaya in Wadgaon Rasai in Shirur, nearly 50 km from Pune, was forced to retire on December 31, 1995 after his date of birth was assumed as December 12, 1937. Bagade was born on December 12, 1938.

Bagade approached Lokayukta, Mumbai and Judicial Magistrate Court, Koregaon, Satara where the court, in a verdict on August 29, 2000, upheld Bagade’s date of birth as December 12, 1938. The verdict was validated by Lokayukta, Mumbai.

The State government passed the order to ED, Zilla Parishad and Deputy Education Directorate to immediately arrange for the payment of a year’s salary to Bagade. The order was addressed to the deputy directorate (education), Pune which forwarded it to ED which took no action.

The delay forced Bagade to file an RTI requisition on September 30, 2006 seeking information on the action taken by the department on the State government’s and Education Directorate, Pune’s orders. When no information was forthcoming, Bagade filed the first appeal on November 13, 2006 before Education Officer (secondary section).

When he was denied information yet again, Bagade reappealed to the first appealing authority who passed an order saying, “PIO should explore whatever information could be provided.” A second appeal was lodged with state information commissioner on April 9, the hearing of which was scheduled on May 8 by Kuvalekar.

The SIC in its ruling ordered the PIO to give information to Bagade by June 10 and a receipt of the same should be submitted to the Appellate officer cum education officer (Secondary), Zilla Parishad Prakash Parab. Kuvalekar asked the ED and deputy education directorate to send a completion report before June 15. The SIC ordered Parab to ensure that Rs 5,000 was paid to Bagade under RTI 2005 Section 19 (8) by June 20 as compensation. This amount was to be deducted from the salaries of Bhujbal and other officers. Parab was told to submit a completion report to the SIC.

Kuvalekar’s order stated that Bhujbal should have followed the RTI rules strictly and asked for his conduct to be recorded in his confidential report .

Bagade has alleged that his records have been tampered with. “There have been two appeals and the SIC has ruled in my favour.The ED had prepared bogus documents of my service records and is afraid to part with the information,’’ Bagade said.

ZP education dept fined under RTI, sits on order for two months