Manoj Kamath, BMC assistant engineer, has a dubious first of sorts. The official was first in the civic body to be fined for not revealing information under the Right to Information Act.

Kamath, who works in the buildings and factory department at H (West) ward, was ordered to pay Rs25,000 and reveal the information within five days to the complainant, Aftab Siddiqui.

For Siddiqui, chairperson of Advanced Locality Management (ALM) 144 in Khar (West), it all started on July 1, 2006, when she filed two complaints with the department at the ward alleging illegal construction in MK Building on 33rd Road. When no action was taken, Siddiqui filed an application on August 28, 2006, under RTI Act, 2005. Kamath, on behalf of the department, replied that his department did not have the requisite information.

She later went to the first appellate authority on October 26, 2006. The first appellate authority instructed the PIO on November 27, 2006, to give a reply within 15 days. Siddiqui claims, “I did not get any information but during all this time I did receive constant threats from people on this issue.” Along with her, even the association filed a police complaint about the threats she has received.

But when the PIO did not reply to the instructions from the authority the
ALM member then approached the commission on March 7, 2007. When contacted, Kamath said that he had not received any such order. He is the third official in Mumbai to be fined by the commissioner