The State Information Commission has come to the rescue of a paralysed man Rakesh Kumar Talwar, who had sought information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act on why the district administration sent letters regarding his compensation on his old address. SIC held that the delay in giving information to Talwar, and the unpleasantness in the Public Information Office (PIO), caused him harassment and mental tension.

The Commission has held that “not only had there been delay but also great harassment and mental tension caused to the applicant (Talwar) due to the unpleasantness in the Public Information Office.” Talwar had gone to PIO to get information, following written instructions received by him to do so.
Talwar, who was paralysed after falling into an uncovered manhole, had approached the Commission for its intervention in his case. The victim had asked the Commission to probe why the official letters sent to him were delivered on his old address. In July 1998, when Talwar was driving a scooter through a flooded street in Dhobi Ghat near new DMC, he was unable to anticipate an open manhole and had fallen into it.

“I have not received the letters forwarded to me in my compensation case by the SDM’s office. I have approached the Commission, urging it to direct the administration to show me the letters which were claimed to be sent on my old address,” said Talwar in his complaint. Talwar had stated that when he went to PIO, a clerk misbehaved with him.

Meanwhile, the SDM has submitted the explanation in the Commission that “the complaint is not admissible on the grounds that the requisite fee was not paid by the complainant as per requirement of the RTI Act.” The SDM also claimed that no one misbehaved with Talwar, and this was just an allegation.

But the Commission observed that this explanation was not satisfactory. “To state today that the complaint is not admissible on the ground that the requisite fee was not paid, is rubbing salt into the wounds of the complainant,” the Commission observed in it’s order.

Though Talwar did not wish to pursue the complaint against the person who misbehaved him, the Commission closed the case with a strong warning to the PIO office of SDM Ludhiana. The Commission also warned the clerk Sham Shunder, who allegedly misbehaved with Talwar, not to repeat such behaviour.

SIC comes to rescue of paralysed man