RTI fallout: Collector fined
as reported by Faizan Ahmad,TNN 12 Oct 2008, Times of India
Cartoonist R K Laxman’s common man is no longer a hapless commoner. Armed with a constitutional weapon provided by the Right To Information (RTI) Act, he is now empowered enough to expose the powers-that-be and ensure the erring ones among them are taken to task.
This is exactly what Ram Pravesh Rai has been doing for sometime now. This 48-year-old farmer from Buxar has almost dedicated his life to dig out the truth buried in official files and expose the erring babus. Thanks to his relentless efforts, a district magistrate (DM), who once sent him to jail, has been fined by the State Information Commission (SIC).
The former Buxar DM, Vishnudeo Prasad, was fined Rs 25,000 by name and the money has since been deducted from his salary. His successor in Buxar was also slapped a fine of an equal amount. But at a later meeting of the full bench of SIC, the recovery of fine from the present DM has been stayed.
Rai, an activist of Soochna Ka Adhikar Manch, is often seen carrying a heavy bundle of photocopies of official documents he has procured through RTI, and even a cursory look at these documents provides enough evidence of corruption, embezzlement of government funds and evasion of taxes worth several crores of rupees in Buxar district alone.
The information he has secured concerns implementation of three government-sponsored schemes - Million Shallow Tubeless Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Yojana and the scheme for loan to purchase tractor - during the last six to seven years.
"What is surprising is that such corrupt practices continued not only during the RJD regime but also under the ‘sushasan’," rued Rai, showing the documents. Chief minister Nitish Kumar too knows most officials do not want to supply information to public. "Justice can be provided to people through RTI but the problem is that some officials with old mindset are hesitant to make official information public," he once said at a function of SIC.
Noted social activist Parveen Amanullah, the founder head of `Soochna Ka Adhikar Manch’, said since the information dissemination mechanism is still in a very early stage, it is not functioning satisfactorily. "The officials are supposed to keep details readily available but they are not doing it," she said.
SIC spokesman Rambadan Baruah admitted that certain officials are still hesitant to share information with people. "The scenario has changed after the commission ordered posting of public information officers in each department and government offices," he said.
RTI fallout: Collector fined-Patna-Cities-The Times of India
Bikaner collector fails to reply under RTI, fined as reported in Times of India, TNN, JAIPUR: Jun 5, 2010, The chief information commissioner (CIS), Rajasthan, S D Kaurani, has imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on district collector of Bikaner for failing to answer some questions under the RTI. The matter relates to an application filed by one Sripal Jain on December 11, 2008 seeking information regarding deployment of election officers in Bikaner (west) assembly segment during the 2008 Vidhan Sabha polls. The applicant had sought information like names of poll duty employees, whose duties were cancelled, on what ground duties were cancelled, details of the officers who performed their duties, details of employees on duty in all the seven assembly segments of Bikaner during the 2008 assembly polls. The CIS has directed the Bikaner collector to deposit the amount within 30 days and extract the amount from the official responsible for the lapse. Besides, the commissioner has asked the collector to give all information sought by the applicant within the next 10 days. Bikaner collector fails to reply under RTI, fined - Jaipur - City - The Times of India