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Thread: A case of subverting RTI Act

  1. #1
    C J Karira
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    A case of subverting RTI Act

    A case of subverting RTI Act

    Former woman Sarpanch’s ordeal to claim the money she spent She was compelled to withdraw her application
    Got the money after agreeing against appeal

    JAIPUR: In a classic case of government authorities subverting the law, a former woman Sarpanch in Rajasthan was made to run from pillar to post for nearly a decade claiming the money she spent on the construction of a 1-km-long road in her panchayat.

    When the Sarpanch, Mohini Devi, tried to use the much talked about Right to Information Act to know the status of the outstanding amount of Rs.75,000, she was compelled to withdraw her application. The former Sarpanch was paid the dues recently after she agreed not to press for appeals under the RTI Act.

    Ms. Mohini Devi was the Sarpanch of Sonasar village panchayat in Jhunjhunu district from 1996 to 2000. A proposal for construction of a cement-concrete road near the Growth Centre in her panchayat was approved by the Gram Sabha during her tenure in 1997 and the Alsisar Panchayat Samiti, having jurisdiction over the village, released an advance of Rs.25,000 for the work.

    The work stopped for a while because of a local conflict but was later resumed under the Jawhar Rozgar Yojana. With the panchayat samiti not releasing adequate funds for road construction, Ms. Mohini Devi spent Rs.75,000 on her own and was assured of reimbursement on its completion.

    Even when the departmental engineer submitted a report on the completion of construction of the 1-km-long road to the panchayat samiti, the money spent by Ms. Mohini Devi was not refunded to her. In spite of approaching all authorities in the Zila Parishad and district administration repeatedly for several years, she was neither given any information nor payment.

    Ms. Mohini Devi learnt about the RTI Act while attending an orientation workshop of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) in Jhunjhunu in 2006. She saw a glimmer of hope with the PRIA activists helping her in drafting an application seeking to get the information about her dues under the new law.

    When the former Sarpanch went to the Block Development Officer, who was appointed the Public Information Officer under the Act, he refused to accept the application fee. After much persuasion, she was able to file the application and get the receipt.

    However, the information provided to her through the Panchayat Secretary was incomplete and seemed to conceal the facts. On being confronted, the BDO bluntly told her that the records were old and it was not possible for him to provide the required information.

    PRIA Project Officer Tahreem Siddiqui said here on Thursday that an undeterred Ms. Mohini Devi went for the first appeal under the RTI Act at Zila Parishad, but still could not get to know the status of her dues. She pursued the matter and complained against the officials, accusing them of dereliction of duty.

    Finally, the Jhunjhunu Collector called Ms. Mohini Devi to his office in August 2007 and assured her that she would get the refund, but added that she would “not get the support” if she kept the pressure mounted through the RTI Act.

    After agreeing not to go ahead with the appeals under the Act, Ms. Mohini Devi recently got the outstanding amount of Rs.75,000. Mr. Siddiqui said the battle was still half-won, as the former Sarpanch was now waging a fresh struggle for getting the interest amount for one decade.

    The Hindu : New Delhi News : A case of subverting RTI Act

  2. Re: A case of subverting RTI Act

    This actually proves that the RTI Act has got some teeth. People such as these cannot muzzle this now, the harder they try the more they are going to fail

  3. #3

    Re: A case of subverting RTI Act

    Dear Karira Sir
    A striking news.
    That's the Power of the Weapon which sometimes yields the result even before launched.
    Thanks for sharing the news.


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