T N RTI: Notices served on 100 officials
Posted by rtiact2005 on August 23, 2006
Notices served on 100 officials
|Charged with not providing information to petitioners within the stipulated period|
SEEKING EXPLANATION: Chief Information Commissioner S. Ramakrishnan (second from right), State Information Commissioners R. Rathinasamy and G. Ramakrishnan reviewing the implementation of the Right to Information Act in Coimbatore on Tuesday. — ; Photo: K. Ananthan
COIMBATORE: Nearly 100 officials of various departments in the State have been served show cause notices by the State Information Commission under the Right to Information Act, Chief Information Commissioner S. Ramakrishnan told presspersons here on Tuesday.
The officials had been asked to explain why action should not be taken against them for not providing information to petitioners within the stipulated time, he said, reviewing the progress of the implementation of the Act in Coimbatore, Erode and the Nilgiris Districts.
Mr. Ramakrishnan said so far the Commission received 2,385 petitions, and action was being taken on 2,160 complaints. Orders for action was issued through the Public Information Officer.
He said 132 petitions were returned to the complainants asking them to correct the defects. Thirty-five petitions were referred to the Central Information Commissioner as the issues came under the purview of the Centre. Besides, 812 grievances petitions were directed to the departments concerned.
“There is a wide variety of cases. It is not that many petitions pertain to a specific issue,” he said. “Public awareness [on the Act] is good, especially in places such as Coimbatore.”
State Information Commissioner G. Ramakrishnan said the response from officials to the petitions was prompt. “They are acting fairly fast.”
On the public response to the system, the Chief Information Commissioner said: “There are sporadic letters from the public in appreciation of it. Things are changing and more information is flowing to the public with Section 4 of the Act providing for pro-active disclosure.”
As for frivolous complaints, he said some persons misused the Act owing to personal enmity and there were also “professional” petitioners.
Some people sought irrelevant information. Instead of asking about a specific case of plan approval, they asked for approvals given by a municipality over 10 years. “We ask people to apply on specific cases,” he said.
In some cases, the officials concerned, especially police, met the petitioners and told them that action had been taken, State Information Commissioner R. Rathinasamy said.
The requests for reduction of fee and use of court fee stamp instead of bank challan to simplify the procedure were passed on to the Government.
The State Information Commissioner suggested that local television channels organise interface between the public and officials to create awareness on the Act.
On the district-level review, the Chief Information Commissioner said it helped in hearing cases locally.
Collectors Neeraj Mittal (Coimbatore), D. Karthikeyan (Erode) and Santosh K. Misra (the Nilgiris) took part in the review.