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Thread: IG in dark over RTI application status

  1. #1

    IG in dark over RTI application status

    An inspector general (IG) of police, who in March this year filed a Right To Information (RTI) application seeking the status of an inquiry launched against him by the government, is yet to receive any information seven months later.

    Dr Nazrul Islam, currently IG with the enforcement branch, is a no-nonsense officer, who upset the CPM with a controversial book on his experiences as an IPS officer trying to keep the force insulated from the CPM’s political machinations.

    Last year, the government’s Vigilance Commission launched an inquiry against him on the basis of a specific complaint. When, a year later, Islam continued to be in the dark about the commission’s findings, he filed an RTI application with the State Public Information Officer (SPIO) of the
    Home department (personnel and administrative reforms).

    The SPIO did not reply to Islam’s application but told the secretary to the Vigilance Commission in a memo dated April 5 (no. 344-PAR (AR)/0/3B-5/2007) that the commission should furnish the information to Islam.
    Stonewalled at Step 1, Islam wrote to the department’s Appellate Authority on April 20, citing rules to point out that the SPIO could be “deemed to have refused” his request, as it had failed to give the information he sought.

    The Appellate Authority, dismissing Islam’s appeal on April 26, issued an order No. 397-P&AR (Vig.) stating that Islam should appeal to the designated officer of the Vigilance Commission.
    Stonewalled again, Islam then appealed to the final authority, the State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC), under Section 19(3) of the RTI Act of 2005, on May 8.

    The SCIC directed the SPIO of the Home department to furnish the required information to Islam. The SPIO duly furnished the information - but to the SCIC, not to Islam.
    While Nazrul Islam continues to be in the dark, The Indian Express has the answers he wants.

    Islam had sought answers to 13 questions, the most vital being: “What is the present position of the inquiry?” The SPIO’s answer: “Presently, by an order of the Hon’ble High Court, dated 29.07.2006, the matter is lying with the Home Secretary & Additional Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal (Case No. W.P. 16654(W) of 2006).”

    Other questions posed by Islam (and their answers): On which date was the preliminary inquiry launched? The answer: on March 1, 2006.
    “Was it started on the basis of some complaint, or on its own by the Vigilance Commission, or as per the direction of the Government of WB?” Islam asked next. The reply: It was started on the basis of a specific complaint.

    From the questions and their answers it is clear the complainant was pseudonymous and his/her name cannot be verified or located. Nor can the commission get the complainant to corroborate the allegations since the complainant’s identity is not known.

    The commission decided to launch an open inquiry on March 6, 2007 on the basis of the preliminary inquiry. That makes it a record six days!
    When contacted, Islam said he is still waiting for a reply. “Being a government official, I cannot say anything more than this,” said Islam.

    Bidyut Roy
    Kolkata, October 25
    IG in dark over RTI application status

  2. #2
    C J Karira
    Blog Entries
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    RTI answer: IG’s letter to Buddha lost

    As reported by Bidyut Roy on on 13 February 2008: :: RTI answer: IG’s letter to Buddha lost

    RTI answer: IG’s letter to Buddha lost

    KOLKATA, February 12: When Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee took charge for his second term, he told a rally of Government employees: “Hate corruption. Educate others to hate corruption.”

    Now, his own Secretariat has lost a letter written to the Chief Minister detailing instances of corruption and malpractices by some of his top bureaucrats and police officers.

    The complainant, Inspector General of Police Nazrul Islam, discovered this after prolonged but futile correspondence with the Home Department, which is under the Chief Minister, followed by a right to information (RTI) application when he got no reply.

    Islam, who was shunted to the enforcement branch earlier for speaking out his mind on corruption in the Government and ruling party, had written to Bhattacharjee on May 23, 2006, just five days after the Chief Minister was sworn in, listing a series of charges against Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, Vigilance Commissioner S K Datta and Inspector General of Police (Vigilance) M K Mukherjee.

    On January 3, the West Bengal Information Commission pointed out to the Home Secretary that Islam had furnished a photocopy of the receipt issued by the CM’s Secretariat for his letter, and the department has to give its “views/ comments/ action taken”.

    It gave the Home Secretary a fortnight to provide a reply. “The commission will decide about the next course of action on receipt of your communication.”

    Finally, the admission came from the Home Secretary, via a letter by Joint Secretary A G Ghosh: “No information could be furnished as the representation to the Chief Minister, on whose basis it was sought, could not be traced in the department.”

    The Joint Secretary sought a copy of the letter from Islam.
    The IGP told The Indian Express that he had not yet decided whether he would write to the Chief Minister again.

    “Officially, I cannot comment,” he added.

    Islam also said that he saw no point in writing again as over the past two years, two of the officials he had written about had retired.
    The Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary were not available for comment.

    In his letter to Bhattacharjee — a copy of which is with the The Indian Express — Islam said a section of the administration had instigated an official inquiry against him on the basis of an anonymous letter, simply because he had raised his voice against their corrupt practices.

  3. #3

    Vigilance chief asked to pay damages for illegal probe

    Vigilance chief asked to pay damages for illegal probe

    As Reported in the STATESMAN 25 June 2008

    KOLKATA, June 25: Mr Justice SP Talukdar of Calcutta High Court today fixed a sum of one rupee as cost against the state vigilance commissioner for conducting an illegal inquiry against Mr Nazrul Islam the then IG (enforcement) and now IG (welfare) within four weeks of the order.

    Mr Islam, the petitioner has suffered serious harassment by this illegal inquiry, it was held.

    A wrong has been committed against the petitioner, it was further held. But his grievance has been settled by the enquiry conducted by the state home secretary, it was further held. Expressing appreciation for the stand taken by the petitioner, the court held that an enquiry should be held to find out who ordered the probe on the basis of the pseudonymous allegation. The state will prefer an appeal against the order of the Single Bench, Mr Pratik Dhar appearing for the state said. A vigilance enquiry was started against Mr Islam and a team visited the house he had built in the city and the educational trust he had built at Basantpur in Murshidabad. On being summoned by the commission, Mr Islam moved the court and submitted that it was an illegal enquiry.

    These cases of vigilance should be routed to the commission from the police directorate, his counsel submitted. But this practice was given a go by and taken up directly by the commission, it was submitted. The enquiry against Mr Islam should be conducted not by the commission but by Mr Prasad Ranjan Ray, the then state home secretary and additional chief secretary, the court held in respect of an earlier writ petition filed by Mr Islam. When Mr Islam exercising the Right to Information Act sought to know the details of the charges levelled against him, he received no reply from the commission. n SNS

    The Statesman

  4. Compensation of Rs 50.000 imposed by SIC, West Bengal

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">WEST BENGAL</st1:place> INFORMATION COMMISSION<o:p></o:p>
    Bhabani Bhaban (2<SUP>nd</SUP> Floor), Alipore
    Kolkata -700 027
    Website :
    E-mail : <o:p></o:p>
    Dr. Nazrul Islam
    Home Department
    Facts on record:<o:p></o:p>
    In pursuance of Commissions order dated 20.11.2009 communicated vide No. 3017 (11)(Order)/WBIC/RTI/946/09 dated 20.11.2009 asking the public authority of Home Department to show cause as to why the Commission should not pass an order to compensate Dr. Nazrul Islam for the detriment and harassment suffered by him for non furnishing of information for a period of more than two years, the SPIO, Home (Political) Department vide No. 375-H/RTI/1A-33/07 dated 03.12.2009 has since furnished a reply to the said show cause notice on behalf of the public authority.
    The Commission has considered the reply and has decided to pass the following order:-
    2. It is evident from the reply and from the records available with the Commission that the RTI application preferred by Dr. Islam on 04.06.2007 was received by the SPIO, Home Department within due time. As a matter of routine the SPIO sent the RTI application to the Chief Minister Secretariat since the said application had originated from a letter written by Dr. Islam to the Chief Minister on 23.05.2006. The Chief Ministers Secretariat, which was also an office under Home (Political) Department informed the SPIO that the said application of Dr. Islam was not received in the Chief Ministers Secretariat. Apparently nobody in the public authority made efforts enough to verify whether or not the advance copy of the letter was in fact received in the Chief Ministers Secretariat and whether the original letter reached the Home (Political) Department through proper channel.
    3. It was later revealed that the Chief Ministers Secretariat did in fact receive the advance copy and no record was kept about it and the Home Secretary i.e. Home (Political) Department, did also receive the original application through proper channel from the Director General of Police.
    4. When confronted, the Chief Ministers Secretariat regretted for the lapses, so did, the Home
    (Political) Department and the Director General of Police, though precious time was lost in the process and the spirit of the RTI Act has been frustrated. The most disturbing part of this entire episode is that neither the original letter nor the advance copy addressed to the Chief Minister could be traced in the office of the public authority.
    5. Additional copy was procured from Dr. Islam and sent to the Home Department by the Commission. The officials of the public authority, however, did not learn any lesson from the previous episode and tossed this copy of the original application to different officers without showing any apparent urgency to dispose of the matter and furnishing Dr. Islam with the information he sought. Though Dr. Islam was generally informed through endorsements about the movement of the matter to different officials, but the crux i.e. disposal of the RTI application was elusive. In fact, the RTI application of Dr. Islam could not be disposed of by the said officials because no action was taken on the original letter, or on the copy thereof, addressed to the Chief Minister.
    6. The RTI Act provides specific time frame to all the officers of the public authority to dispose of the RTI application. The Act also provides power to the Commission to take punitive action against the erring officers if they fail to comply with the provisions of the Act. Thanks to the perseverance of Dr. Islam and the constant persuation by the Commission, it has ultimately transpired from the letter No. 796/PAR (AR)/O/3B/2/2008 (Pt. I) dated 21.10.2009 from the SPIO, PAR Department that no action appeared to have been initiated on the allegations made by Dr. Islam in his letter under reference. Therefore, the other queries regarding endorsements, file notes, orders etc. were also not available in the office of the public authority of Home Department and PAR Department.
    8. What the SPIO in his reply to the show cause notice has tried to put forth is in fact a chronology of the various correspondences made in a routine manner in the matter which belied any sense of taking utmost effort or urgency in the disposal.
    9. This is highly irregular, improper and very casual way of dealing with a query under Right to Information Act, the provisions of which are mandatory, time specific and exacting in nature. The objective of bringing in a practical regime of right to information for citizens to ensure access to information under the control of the public authorities for promoting transparency and accountability in their working has been frustrated in this particular case.
    10. The Commission considers that the Home Department, being one of the most important departments of functioning in the Government, shall have to pay a price for such procrastination. The inaction of the public authority in the instant case appears to be impersonal because the officers involved in the process acted within their limited spheres without showing any urgency to go beyond to implement the spirit of the Act in practice. Here the public authority failed to understand and implement the provisions of the Act in its true spirit which it could have if it had gone beyond normal bureaucratic practices.
    11. The Commission therefore orders in exercise of its power conferred upon it by the provisions u/s 19(8) (b) of the RTI Act, 2005 that the public authority of Home (Political) Department shall, within a period of one month, pay a compensation of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousands) to Dr. Islam in the form of a demand draft / banker cheque for the detriment and harassment caused to him.
    A report of compliance shall be sent to the Commission immediately thereafter.
    Date:15.12.2009 (ArunKumar Bhattacharya)<o:p></o:p>
    State Chief Information Commissioner
    No. 3307 (4) (Order)-WBIC/RTI/946/09 Date: 15.12.2009<o:p></o:p>
    Authenticated true copy forwarded to:
    • The Additional Chief Secretary & Principal Secretary, Home Department, Writers Buildings, Kolkata-700 001.
    • The Appellate Authority, Home (RTI) Department, Writers Buildings, Kolkata-700 001,
    • The State Public Information Officer, Home (RTI) Department, Writers Buildings, Kolkata -700 001.
    • Dr. Nazrul Islam, A.D.G., Traffic, Bhabani Bhaban, Alipore, Kolkata-700 027.
    Secretary & Acting Registrar<o:p></o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on">West Bengal</st1:place> Information Commission

  5. Re: Compensation of Rs 50.000 imposed by SIC, West Bengal

    Abhijeet, now it sounds like things are turning for better at your state.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.

  6. #6
    saroj khettry
    Blog Entries
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    Re: Compensation of Rs 50.000 imposed by SIC, West Bengal

    Congratulations dr. Islam. The state commission has compensated you so that you do not file a review application. No action has been initiated for imposing penelaty upon the erring officials for not providing information .as per section 20 the commission shall impose penalty which is required to be paid by the person responsible for not providing information and compensation is paid by the publicc authority, part of which is your money. Moreover the commission has not recommended disciplinary action under the service rules and the order for compensation is heavily loaded in favour of erring officials.

  7. #7
    M. Faiyazuddin
    Blog Entries
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    Re: Compensation of Rs 50.000 imposed by SIC, West Bengal

    Congratulations. Wish you more success in future endeavor. Thanks.
    "It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right. "
    Winston Churchil
    APPEAL: Use RTI to get Information from Private/Public Unaided Schools to stop violation of norms in Education. Private Schools are under the Purview of RTI--CIC.

  8. Re: Compensation of Rs 50.000 imposed by SIC, West Bengal

    Dear Mr. Khettry,
    Your remark is really appreciable. And actually the fact is that Dr. Islam had already expressed his views regarding the compensation . It has been reported by one local news paper "Sangbad Pratidin" on 24th Dec. 2009 that Dr.Islam did not like to have compensation as it was from 'Public money' ; he wanted that the money should be provided from the persons responsible for the total episode.
    As such , he is likely to submit another appeal to the SICl in this regard.
    Last edited by abhijeet; 27-12-09 at 09:09 PM. Reason: correction

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