Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI whip cracked on MCD top gun

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 3, 2006

RTI whip cracked on MCD top gun
[ Monday, July 03, 2006 12:22:24 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


NEW DELHI: Coming down heavily on the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for failing to carry out its functions under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005, where an appellant was denied information, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered MCD’s engineer-in-chief Ravi Dass to show-cause why disciplinary action should not be recommended against him.

Chief information commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah’s order also talked of slapping a penalty to the tune of Rs 25,000 on Dass. The CIC’s reprimand has yet again brought to the fore the reluctance on the part of officials to share information with the public under the RTI.

In December 2005, S K Ohri, president of Ramjas Marg Area Development and Welfare Association, sought copies of the sanction plans of an under-construction building which the RWA had alleged was an illegal construction, under the RTI Act. But MCD denied the request.

In response to Ohri’s application, MCD cited Section 6 (B) of the Delhi Right to Information (DRTI) Act saying that it did not allow supplying of such documents to anyone.

“Only a lawful owner of the property can ask for such documents,” the engineer-in chief’s letter stated. When the RWA approached CIC, Ohri pointed out that they could not be denied the sanction plans for it was mandatory for a builder to put up the plans on display at the construction site.

After reviewing the matter, CIC, in an order dated June 22, hit out at the MCD, saying: “Although the application was filed under the RTI Act, 2005, the concerned central public information officer (CPIO) denied the information under Section 6 (B) of the DRTI Act.”

CIC’s order pointed out that the commission, in March, had sent a copy of the appeal to MCD and comments were called on the concerns raised.

“The CPIO and the public authority did not even respond to this. It appears that they are as yet unaware of the fact that the RTI Act, 2005 has come into operation,” the CIC’s order stated.

CIC further added: “It appears that the public authority has failed to carry out its obligations under the RTI Act and that the appellant has been denied information without any reasonable cause.”

“Since the denial of information was made on December 29, 2005, the said public authority is liable to pay a penalty at the rate of Rs 250 per day subject to a maximum of Rs 25,000. The said public authority is called upon to show cause as to why he be not ordered to pay the penalty,” the order stated.

CIC’s order noted that the MCD’s engineer-in-chief had obstructed the furnishing of the requested information and was therefore called upon to show cause why appropriate disciplinary action should not be recommended against him under the RTI Act.


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