The world is round and if one walks in one single direction he will come back to the starting point. But I never realised that my "RTI life" will also turn a full circle and I will reach the starting point so soon.
I read the RTI Act for the first time after being humiliated, insulted, harassed and literally foul mouthed by senior officers of the Commercial Tax Department of AP. Read more here: Why I read the RTI Act for the first time.
Only the first four RTI applications I filed were for my personal interest/pecuniary benefit. Never filed any more RTI applications for any personal benefit after those first four.
The present matter was very simple. Our company filed a petition with the Commercial Taxes Dept. of AP for a "Advance Ruling" for VAT rate for a particular item, in January 2013. The VAT Act and Rules provide for the Advance Ruling Authority to pass an order within 58 days of filing of request. Nearly 10 months passed.....more than 20 visits to that same building....meeting everyone from ACTO to Additional Commissioner...but still not result.
Finally today, the same department came back to haunt me and after a restless nights sleep, early this morning I decided to use the only nuclear bomb I know. Drafted four RTI applications, once again for my personal interest/pecuniary benefit and landed up to file them in person with the PIO.
The officers have changed but sadly the attitude is still the same. Go here, go there, 2nd floor, 4th floor, back to 2nd floor, 5th floor, go to PRO (Arey baba, I am looking for PIO not PRO ! Don't you know the difference ?), etc etc.,.......
Finally I landed up at a ACTOs desk - the same ACTO whom I have visited over 20 times. Read out each and every part of my four RTI applications loudly to him and told him I am going to file these in a short while.
The pleadings started all over again......go to Asst Commissioner (Sir please do not do this), go to Joint Commissioner (I am no more on that committee, but please don't file. we will all be in trouble. We have to still answer), new Additional Commissioner ( I am new here. I think your blood is full of adrenaline. Be patient.......Me: Sir in 9 months God even gives babies. Cant you pass a advance ruling order in 10 months ?....I promise it will be done immediately. I am short of staff, etc etc...). Finally landed up at the Commissioners desk. Spoke softly but directly to the point. Did not mention any RTI to him. Was promised an order within a week. Came out, showed the four RTIs to his PA and clearly told him...one week means one week, ie seven days.....otherwise the four nuclear bombs are ready.
Let's wait for a week and see what happens....otherwise.......
And my "RTI life" completes a full circle !