Court fines RTI applicant
VADODARA: A self-proclaimed activist in Anand has created a ticklish situation by applying for information under Right to Information (RTI) Act on alleged bribe accepted by a judge to dismiss his complaint. The activist was slapped a fine of Rs 5,000, failing which he would face contempt of court proceedings.
In response, the activist has moved a second appeal with state chief information commissioner (CIC) against the district judge's decision.
It all started with Hitesh Patel moving a complaint against all board members of Vallabh Vidyanagar Commercial Co-operative Bank alleging that the members had misappropriated a huge amount from the bank.
After hearing the case, chief judicial magistrate J P Gadhvi dismissed the complaint on January 22 stating that there was not enough evidence to prove such allegations. Patel submitted an application to court's public information officer (PIO) seeking information on 'tod pani' (bribe) taken to dismiss the case.
The principal senior civil judge, who is the PIO, wrote back to Patel on January 29 that "there is no evidence to support such claims" and told him that he can move to appellate authority — the chief district judicial magistrate or additional district magistrate.
Patel then moved his first appeal with the chief district magistrate on January 31 stating that PIO's response was "against public interest".
After receiving the appeal, Anand district court's registrar on February 12 asked Patel to submit Rs 50 along with his appeal.
Instead of submitting Rs 50, Patel wrote back to the court registrar that "there are no provisions under RTI to charge such fees along with appeal".
When the court registrar received Patel's letter, it was produced before principal district judge (appellate authority of court) M J Parikh, who imposed the fine on him. Patel, however, has moved a second appeal with CIC as well as court's PIO seeking information on "which grounds under RTI" was he asked to deposit Rs 5,000 as fine.
Court fines RTI applicant-Ahmedabad-Cities-NEWS-The Times of India