As reported by Radheshyam Jadhav of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 11 April 2008:
Babus use RTI to mellow bosses-Pune-Cities-The Times of India
Babus use RTI to mellow bosses
PUNE: If you are fed up of your boss’ threats and want to teach him a lesson, then take a leaf from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) employees, who are ready to prove that bullying bosses could be busted using the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Civic employees, working in various departments, are seeking information about their bosses under the RTI in large numbers.
Many civic employees ensure that the information reaches the media and top civic heads like municipal commissioner and additional commissioners. In majority of the cases employees ask their friends and relatives to file the application, while there are some who directly seek the information.
Some of the most common questions asked are: whether their boss has the paid property tax, which files has he cleared and which he has held back, whether boss' family is duping the civic body, do they have any illegal construction.
One of the PMC workeres said that there is no policy or procedure in place to check their bosses'threats. "A lot of times bosses are biased while writing confidential reports. The RTI has enabled us to seek information about our bosses, which makes them cautious in their dealings with other employees."
"One of our bosses' sons was involved in illegal construction. We sought the information and since then his behaviour has changed. He has mellowed a lot now," said another PMC employee.
Another civic body worker has sought information on how their boss' family would use the civic facilities and allowances.
However, it is not only employees who are seeking information about top bosses, some of the corporators are using the RTI Act to get the information about 'errant' officials.
PMC joint commissioner Arun Patil said, "When the RTI Act was implemented flow of applications seeking information about officers was negligent. But the number has risen since then. Each department of the PMC has officers to give information under the RTI." He added that with the growing awareness on how to file an RTI application, number of people using the tool has increased manifold.
Offering clarification on such use of the RTI, activist Vijay Kumbhar said, "All these cases can't be dubbed as misuse of the Act as the information sought is meant for public. Actually this information should be made public suo moto." He added that if the PMC officials themselves make all the official information public it would the civic body function more efficiently.
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