MP: Info panel gets tough, additional chief secretary made personally responsible to provide RTI info
BHOPAL: In an important order, the State Information Commission has made additional chief secretary (ACS) of the state higher education department, Saleena Singh, personally responsible to provide information on appointments at a Rewa college under Right to Information (RTI) within seven days.
Information commissioner Rahul Singh passed the order, considering Saleena Singh as the deemed public information officer (PIO) as she heads the higher education department.
The order by the commissioner says that if the information is not provided within stipulated deadline, the ACS would attract penalty under sections 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI Act.
Expressing displeasure at the higher education department for ignoring the order of the commission, the info commissioner asked the department to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to the RTI applicant T P Tiwari, a retired professor.
The principal of the Rewa Janta College has been served with show cause notice of disciplinary action and fine of Rs 25,000 for violating the norms of the Right to Informatinon (RTI) Act.
Commissioner Rahul Singh said that this case is example of that system which works against the RTI Act provisions. Hence, tough stand has been taken. In this case, the officials of the department even resorted to malpractices to stop the information from coming out on public domain despite a high court and the info commission order.
The applicant TP Tiwari in year 2017 sought details of appointments at Janta College and especially the name of the principal of the college in 1995 and the appointments made that year. However, the higher education department did not give the information for two years and even submitted in the State Information Commission that the applicant had withdrawn his application, which the applicant proved to be wrong.
Commissioner Rahul Singh has asked the Rewa SP Abid Khan to inquire into this fraud. The applicant has alleged that the public information officer Devendra Gautam was not giving the information as his own appointment as professor of physics was against rules.