RTI Act: another case of delay in information to the fore
HYDERABAD: Even as a Tahsildar in Ranga Reddy district being made to pay Rs 5,000 penalty for not furnishing information under the Right to Information Act, has come to light, an instance of Home Department officials delaying the information sought by a person has come to light in the State capital.
The A.P. Information Commission has disclosed that as per its directions the Balanagar Tahsildar, K. Yadagiri Reddy, was made to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000. The commission had directed all Public Information Officers (PIOs) and appellate authorities to be prompt in disposal of applications and appeals as per the time prescribed in the Act.
Interestingly, a request for information on details of the weapon licensing authorities in the State; number of arms licence holders in the State; and the number of licence holders involved in criminal cases, has been gathering dust in the official corridors.
The petitioner, Amjedullah Khan, a former corporator, submitted the petition to the Home Department PIO on November 21, 2007. After a lapse of the stipulated one month period, he petitioned the Home Secretary, the appellate authority, on December 27, 2007 and then followed it up with a complaint to the Chief Information Commissioner, C.D. Arha on January 29, 2008.
The PIO and the appellate authority had duly asked the DGP’s office to collate the information sought by Mr. Khan. The DG’s office forwarded the letter in turn to all district Collectors and the SPs and Police Commissioners on December 5, 2007.
Interestingly, only Guntur, Karimnagar and East Godavari districts responded promptly.
But the information provided was divergent. While the Guntur Collector maintained that there were 268 arms licences issued in the district and that there were no criminal cases against the licence holders, the Guntur police maintained that there were 245 licences in the district and that there was only case reported against a licence holder.
In case of Karimnagar, the Collector disclosed that there were 89 weapon licences, but referred the other question on criminal cases to the SP as ‘information sought is more related to him’.
The East Godavari Collector informed the DG’s office that there were 1398 arms licences.
“I have been asking for this information from November 21, 2007 and so far comprehensive information is yet to reach me. And how can there be discrepancy in respect of information in Guntur district,” the petitioner Mr. Khan questions.