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Thread: Strange RTI case in Arunachal

  1. #1

    Strange RTI case in Arunachal

    Even after enactment of Right to Information Act three yearsback, it is yet to be fully implementedat the grass rootlevel. The failure of proper utilizationof the Act largelystems from the ignoranceabout the Act. It is not onlythe people who are ignorantbut most of the govt officialsstill are yet to receive propertraining in this regard.A strong case highlightingthe above situationhave appeared recently froma case where the applicanthavent received the informationtill date he had filed ayear ago.Maksam Lego, aresident of Midland villagesought information under RTIfrom the Food and Civil SupplyDepartment on 14th May2007. As is the rule, he depositedRs 500/- throughtreasury challan for the receiptof information. Thoughthe Food and Civil Supply Departmentis mandatedto assign aPublic InformationOfficer (PIO) of its own,the information was filedthrough PIO assigned for thedistrict administration. Followingthe guidelines, the applicationwas forwarded toconcerned officer ie DistrictFood and Civil Supply Officerof the district on 16th May2007.A month passed by,yet the applicant got no responsefrom the concernedofficer. On 19th June 2007,exactly after one month expiryfor dissemination of information,Lego wrote a letterto DFSCO remindingabout the information soughtunder RTI.Aggrieved by lackof response from the department,a complaint was filedbefore the Chief InformationCommissioner, Itanagar on27th June 2007. On 21st August2007, EAC (H/Q) designatedas PIO (earlier designatedas APIO with AddlDeputy Commissioner asPIO), imposed fine onDFSCO at Rs 50/- per daywith effect from 18th Aug2007.In response to theabove notice, DFSCO in a letterdated 5th Sept 2007 respondedto the PIO by regrettingthe delay and handedover Rs 850/- as penalty forthe delay. The letter alsoasked for a fee of Rs 5/- percopy of information. The feefor information amounted toRs 75/- and was forwardedto applicant on 6th Sept 2007by PIO through 'Form D'(form for supply of informationto the applicant).The applicant yet notsatisfied with the informationand deeply aggrieved, wroteagain to PIO for full disseminationof information. Despitethe oath under taken asper the Act for the hearingand even writing to Chief InformationCommissioner inNew Delhi, the applicant istoday caught in the web withno clue on which forum toappeal for.The above situationis a typical of all the caseswhich is best in exemplifyinghow a common man is deceivedin the hierarchy of bureaucrats.Having beenthrilled by the provisions ofRTI, people rush to offices inexercising their rights. But yetin the end, it's the smart tacticsof the bureaucrats whichleaves the common mangasping for breath after makingthem run through door todoors.The above case requiresthat a PIO be separatelynotified for the Foodand Civil Supply Department.This will ease the processwherein previously an applicanthad to file an RTIthrough PIO designated forthe district administration. Ifa person is not satisfied withthe response of the PIO, thenan appeal must be filed tofirst appellate authority. In theabove case, it must be an officersenior to DFSCO of thesame public authority. Thefinal appeal must be made toState Information Commissioner(SIC). Interestinglypeople often confuse the hierarchyof Central InformationCommissioner (CIC)with respect to SIC. SIC isequivalent to CIC in ranks.Only that first deals withmatter related to state andlatter with all the central authorities.The strange partabout the above case is thata PIO, a rank of EAC imposesa penalty to anotherofficer of similar rank for thedelay in giving away the information.Perhaps it mightbe the first case in the countrywhere a PIO has authorizedon self to impose penaltyby charging Rs 850/- asa fine. The law instead saysthat an appellate authoritywhich is senior to PIO in hierarchycan only dispose anappeal by either imposingpenalties or rejecting the appealon proper justifiableground. In the above situation,the fine should havebeen imposed on PIO by theappellate authority for thedelay. However the matterhere is complicated by notdesignating PIO for the Foodand Civil Supply Departmentand responsibility for informationtaken up by the PIOs ofadministration. It is alsostrange to observe the penaltythat is being imposed.The Central RTI rules saythat a fine of Rs 250/- has tobe charged for each day.However, the ArunachalPradesh RTI Rules imposesa penalty of Rs 50/- per dayin clear contravention to theRTI Act 2005.In case ofdelay in dispatchinginformation,the applicant should receivethe information for free ofcost along with the money receivedout of penalty imposedon competent authority.However it is interesting tonote that the applicant hasbeen charged an amount ofRs 75/- for information evenafter the 30 days expiry.Nevertheless withthe matter exceeding over ayear, the case needs a strongjustification from the applicantfor filing another appeal to theState Information Commission.The appeal to the appellateauthority is a timebound exercise which requiresthat the aggrieved personfile an appeal within 90days from the expiry of thedate for receiving information.Yet always remember,failure is the pillar of success.

  2. Re: Strange RTI case in Arunachal

    Dear Raju Mimi,
    Your above post has been shifted from "New Member Introduction" to RTI General Discussions. In case your post is a reproduction from some other source, kindly acknowledge the source and author, to avoid any copy-right problem.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.

  3. #3
    psnswaminathan Guest

    Re: Strange RTI case in Arunachal

    Respected Sir,

    I appreciate your article and feelings - we as the whole community are with you.

    Let me give you an example of case - we will understand under what condition. we are living.

    Any one who is really interested in knowing how eradication of corruption, upholding transparency in administration, Right to Information Act are working, they can get the information from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) about the complaint (lodged by me) registered by CVC 611/01/10. CVC in its web site initially stated that “Administrative Action has been taken”, then stated that “Commission ordered closure of case” and now web site gives error message.

    Specifically, I have not given the details of the case - honestly hoping, if some one approaches CVC, under RTI Act, CVC may give transparently all the details of the case, what Administrative action has been taken and reason for closure of the case.
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    Last edited by ganpat1956; 24-04-08 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Live email links deleted.

  4. Re: Strange RTI case in Arunachal

    Dear Swaminathan,
    Please observe forum rules & guidelines while posting. Live email links are not permitted at this portal to prevent spam.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.


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