RTI for West Bengal Govt Employees
I would be grateful if you kindly provide me the guidance on the following points:
1. whether any employee working under the West Bengal Govt. wll have to submit an application directly or through proper channel from any of the government department under RTI Act for obtaining certain information ? Though section 22 of the RTI Act 2005 over rides all the other laws and rules while seeking information under the act but even then a clarification is needed in the interest of the service career of the employee. Kindly guide in the light of the prevailing laws under RTI Act 2005.
2. If an application is submitted to the state public information officer of the concerned Department by an employee of West Bengal Government through proper channel, and the fate of the same application is not known to the employee whether it was withheld by the superior officers of the employee's department or by the Department itself from where the information was sought, then in that case what are the remedies available to the information seeker employee? Kindly guide as to what the law says. How would the period of 30 days for obtaining the reply or for applying to the Appellate Authority should be counted.? Whether it should be from the date when the employee submitted his 1st application through the proper channel or it should be from the date when the superior officers of his department forwarded his application to the state information commission? In a case the department authorities are not informing my client whether they sent the application to the SPIO of the Home Department of West Bengal Government or withheld the same though the employee has sought a status report of his petition.His department is silent.Alredy 45 days have passed.
3. If the employee's department withholds the application without informing the employee concerned then in that case what is the remedy available to the informations seeker employee?Whether appael can be done directly to the AA or it should again be sent through proper channel of the department?
Kindly enlighten me over the above points as I feel that if the information is available to any employee within the parameter of right to information act from his employer then the filing of cases or writr petitions would automatically lessen the burden of not only the state administrative tribunal but also of High Court and the employee will be able to save substantial amount of money from spending those upon the advocates and other connected legal process.
Kindly reply in the interest of justice and service to the mankind.
Syed Bakhtiar Adil
Re: RTI for West Bengal Govt Employees
1. Since the provisions of the RTI Act are evoked only after requests for information under normal channels are exhausted, it follows that the employee will be fully justified in submitting the application directly to the PIO of the department concerned. He ought to get a cogent reply withing 30 days. If the application was submitted to his local controlling officer, then the latter must forward it to the appropriate PIO within 5 days and inform the applicant in writing. The applicant in this case should receive a cogent reply from the concerned PIO within 35 days of the submission.
2. If satisfactory information was not forthcoming because of a defect in the application, then a reapplication is indicated. Otherwise, an appeal tom the apellate authority is to be done.
3. The Law nowhere specifies this "through proper channel" stuff. It is not required as far as RTI is concerned. As a safeguard, it should be evoked only after he has requested the information a reasonable number of times without success. And if the government employee is concerned about alienating the authority, then he should refrain from evoking the RTI. The essence of the RTI is to pry out information that the authority holds on to, usually for no respectable reason.
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