Mumbai, April 1: The inefficiency and red-tapism of the government’s so-called file tracking system forced Rajesh Darak, a resident of Mumbai, to resort to the Right to Information Act (RTI) to find out more about a court order. However, Darak, an employee of a Mumbai-based firm, received contradictory answers in response to his application. He once again had to make several rounds of various government departments to get information which should have been available at the click of a mouse or the flick of a page.
Darak was following up an order given by the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate court to the Sangli police in October 2005. The court had directed the Sangli police to proclaim the accused in a cheque bouncing case as absconders.
When the proclamation orders were not executed, Darak sought information about the fate of the file containing the magistrate’s orders. He wrote to the State Home Department and the Director General of Police, asking them about the progress of the file and the relevant order.
When there was no response, Darak filed a RTI application seeking information about the file and his letters.
In response to his RTI application, the Home Department informed Darak that his letter had been forwarded to the Sangli Police for further action.
But Darak was taken by surprise when the DGP’s office informed him that his letter and RTI application have been sent to the Mumbai Police, and he should get in touch with them to know about the progress of the court’s order. “Why was a case relating to Sangli sent to the Mumbai Police?” asked Darak.
Moreover, the Mumbai Police did not return the case, even though it didn’t fall under their jurisdiction.
“The entire rigmarole was due to the indifferent attitude on the part of officials and staff handling the file. They were merely acting as post offices,” said Darak.
When queried about the matter, Deputy Assistant Inspector General S D Sahasrabuddhe said the file was eventually sent back to the Sangli Police and the applicant had received the information he wanted. Sahasrabuddhe added that though Darak had filed an appeal after his RTI application, he had not turned up for the appeal hearing.
“If the applicant makes a fresh application, we would give him our clarification about this matter,” said Sahasrabuddhe.
“How can I appear for the hearing when the letter informing me about it reached a month late?” asks Darak.
“Irrespective of whether or not I was present for the hearing, they ought to tell me the daily progress made by my application, which they have not”, added Darak. Now, he has filed a second appeal with the State information Commission and is waiting for the hearing.
Apart from doing needful to alleviate the grievance of Darak. The official should pay attention to large problem at hand of tracking of information. The urgetn needs of hours is to dematerialized the offical record and move into a electronic era where records can be stored on computer.