A Chennai based consumer activist has been waging a battle for more than six months to get information from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, under the Right To Information Act.
The petitioner, Dharmesh Shah of Besant Nagar, Chennai submitted his application to the NEERI, a Central Government Undertaking, on June 14, 2006, seeking information pertaining to the projects undertaken by the institute between 1998 and 2006.
According to the petitioner, the NEERI failed to furnish the information much beyond the prescribed period of 30 days, following which he made an appeal to the Appellate Authority in the same organisation.
Only later, the NEERI chose to reply, but that too, refusing to provide the information sought for.
The institute also claimed that it had received the application only on September 1, while the application was actually submitted in June.
In its reply, the NEERI said, "Any information pertaining to sponsored/consultancy projects is of confidential nature and is not to be disclosed from NE ERI's side." Aggrieved, the petitioner moved the Central Information Commission seeking to direct the NEERI to furnish the information he sought for under the RTI Act.
"The NEERI denied me information quoting some rule of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). But neither the public information officer of the NEERI nor the CSIR could clarify or explain the rule to me. It is a grave violation of the RTI Act," Dharmesh Shah said in his appeal before the Central Information Commission. The appeal is to yet to be heard by the Commission.
Source: The New Indian Express, Chennai Edition (Dec.19,2006)
It has now become a habit for me to search for interesting RTI cases that are reported in various newspapers(including online versions from different parts of the country) and post it for the benefit of our RTI community.
Last month when all of you extended a warm welcome to me and expected an active participation from my end, I replied that I will rise up to your expectations. That is precisely what I am doing now, in my own way, and will continue it in the same spirit.