As reported by Parmindar Singh in The Tribune on 18th January 2008:

RTI panel’s role decried

Noida, January 17

The Right to Information Commission in UP has become ineffective and its result can be seen on RTI offices in Noida and elsewhere in the state, said eminent social activist and noted Gandhiite, Sandeep Pandey.

Lucknow-based Pandey was talking to a group of correspondents in Noida, with special reference to Nithari on Wednesday.

“The way the RTI Commission was functioning in the state, it could invite people’s wrath one day like Naxalism,” Panday warned.

Sandeep Pandey, a B.Tech from Banaras University who had done his Ph.D. from California and taught at ITI, alleged that the way UP RTI Commission had conducted itself with regard to the Nithari episode, it was simply shocking. It was clearly seen acting in a highly partisan way as it was shielding the guilty in this inhuman case.

Before talking to the media, Pandey had inspected the area around Moninder Singh Pandher’s house, D-5 in Nithari.

He said state Right to Information Commission had failed to discharge its responsibility in an impartial way, and was seen to be protecting the guilty in the case. “Nithari serial killings and rape of innocent girls had shaken the world but it had failed to move the UP Right to Information Commission, Noida Authority or the State Administration. The commission appears to have become subservient to the official and political forces, that is why instead of replying to the questions connected with Nithari serial killings, the commission was seen blatantly shielding the officials.”

Activist Lokesh Batra had even filed an appeal with state RTI Commission on not being provided with the answers to questions connected with the Nithari episode. But sadly the UP RTI Commission has only tried to protect the guilty officials.

Pandey alleged that the “Nithari episode had exposed an insensitive and anti people’s stance of pillars of democratic framework—Noida Authority, state police and even National Commission of Women. Had these organs of democracy functioned with a sense of responsibility, the lives of Nithari children could have been saved”, Pandey said. All these organs of the state must share equal amount of responsibility and guilt in the case.

Pandey said the state RTI Commission slaps a fine and later condones it. It has become a farce. It is on record that the UP State RTI Commission has not recovered penalty imposed by it from a single person so far.

“The commission had bluntly refused information on Mian Ganj Development Block development done under the National Rural Schemes. Information sought by as many as 52 villages Panchayat under RTI Act was never supplied to them. The Panchayat was told to deposit Rs 1.58 lakh. This information is time-barred now,” he pointed out.

Pandey said fictitious master rolls are prepared where the same man’s thumb impressions are used for dozens of people. That this illegal practice is a fact has been accepted by the RTI Commission in Lucknow, he asserted.
The activists will demand a change in the attitude and procedures by RTI commission which will be linked with the Nithari episode. In case they do not get a suitable reply, a dharna and a hunger strike may follow, the activists warned.

On 15, 16, 17 of next month, a camp will be held in Hyderabad to create awareness about RTI. Similar camps were held in UP in July 2006, in Bihar in February 2007 and in Andhra Pradesh during May to acquaint the people with the provisions and their rights under the RTI Act, Pandey said.

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