RTI at police commissionerate: Do they really care?
Pune, May 5 Just like any other government office, the police department too seems to be least bothered when it comes to displaying information records under the Right to Information Act (RTI). A mandatory requirement, the information records should be put up either at their office premises or on the website.
An inspection check at the Pune police commissionerate by RTI activists on Monday clearly showed the police department in poor light. A team of RTI activists including Vihar Durve, Jugal Rathi, Vivek Velankar, R R Phondge, Sanjay Shirodkar and Vijay Kumbhar who today carried out an inspection of information records at the commissionerate saw a “casual” approach towards RTI.
Before the inspection, one of the team members contacted Police Commissioner Jayant Umranikar who asked them to meet the Joint Police Commissioner Rajendra Sonawane. When the team asked Sonawane to produce all the records of the information under Section IV of the RTI, he was “evasive”.
Later Additional Commissioner of Police Vivek Phansalkar assured the activists that all the relevant records would be available within a month and a half.
Activist Vivek Velankar said, “It is shocking that the police department is failing to observe the rules. The records should have been put up before October 12, 2005. The records should either be at the office, on the website or compiled in a file format. Had we not approached them today, they would not have done so in the next 10 years.”
Another activist Vihar Durve said, “As per RTI’s Section IV, the police department should display, among other things, the list of their staff and officers, their salaries, number of people detained, licences issued for arms and ammunition, bars and permit rooms, the number of road accidents, cases of divorce and standard of performance. The government offices need to display such information on their own without anybody having to ask them.”
Since the police officials have promised to come out with all these records next month, the RTI team will again pay a visit to police commissionerate on June 20 to inspect the records.
Prior to today’s action, the RTI activists had carried out similar inspections at various government offices, including the Regional Transport Office, University of Pune and the Pune Municipal Corporation.