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Query proves costly for couple, set to leave Raj

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As reported by Kshitiz Gaur in Times of India, Jaipur, 05 Mar 2011


Query proves costly for couple, set to leave Raj




Query proves costly for couple, set to leave Raj

Kshitiz Gaur | TNN


Ajmer: Seeking information under the RTI Act from the organisation where she was working on the reason for non-renewal of her job contract had proved costly for Piyusha Tiwari. Her husband Rishu Garg, who is also working with the same organisation, has been demoted after her query. Now, the couple has decided to leave the state and start their careers anew.


Tiwari, 26, said she filed an RTI query with the Association for Rural Advancement through Voluntary Action and Local Involvement (ARAVALI), a state government organisation aided by the Unicef, after her two-months salary was blocked after a new management took over the association and it did not renew her contract without assigning any reason. She had also accused her seniors of harassing her.


“I was working with an associate NGO of ARAVALI in the health sector since 2008. In 2009, the management of the organisation changed and I started facing harassment from my seniors. When I protested, they blocked two months’ payment without assigning any reason,” she said.


Later, the NGO did not renew her job contract, this time too without assigning any reason, she said. “I filed an application under the RTI to seek the reason behind the non-renewal of my contract and also the reason for holding back two months’ pay,” she said.


A month after she filed her query, not only her application was rejected but also Garg, her husband was demoted. “A month after her application, I was demoted from the post of regional co-ordinator to project officer without giving any reason. I had been the regional coordinator for four years,” Garg said.


ARAVALI turned down the application saying the organisation is an NGO and did not fall under the preview of the RTI Act.


Information commissioner M D Korani has, however, directed ARAVALI to give a reply to Tiwari’s query, while hearing her petition before the state information commission.


“We have not got the information despite the order by the commission. I have filed another application informing about the commission about it,” Tiwari said.


When contacted, executive director of the organisation Sanjeev Kumar said, “The matter is pending with the state information commission. Therefore, it is not right to comment on it.” He, however, added that the organisation has a reason for demoting Garg without going into details. During the last two years, the couple has filed several complaints with many government entities, including rural development minister Bharat Singh who is also chairman of ARAVALI, to seek justice.


“We went from door to door but all in vain. We are tired and just want to live peacefully,” cried Tiwari, adding that they have now decided to leave the state.

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As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 17 April 2011:



Probe confirms official's demotion over filing RTI appliction


AJMER: A probe by the state rural development ministry has confirmed the incident in which a husband was demoted after his wife filed an RTI application. It is now confirmed that Rishu Garg was demoted from the post of regional coordinator to programme officer in the government-funded NGO, ARAVALI, because his wife Piyusha filed an application seeking information under the Right to Information Act in 2009. The demotion decision taken by the executive director was not based on facts but intended to take vengeance.


The TOI had published the story of this couple in its March 5 edition.


On the orders of rural development minister Bharat Singh, the principal secretary of the department completed an inquiry and submitted a 10-page report to the minister. The inquiry was conducted on four major irregularities in the government-funded NGO and it also pointed out that the appointment of the executive director of ARAVALI, Sanjeev Kumar was irregular.


"Sanjeev Kumar's appointment as executive director does not bear the approval of the government. As required under clause, the same needs to be examined by government for taking a suitable view," said C S Rajan, principal secretary in the ministry.


"The inquiry officer has held that Rishu was demoted in December 2009 apparently after his wife submitted the application under the RTI Act referred to above seeking some information from ARAVALI." The inquiry report said, "Rishu was not given the right to hear and was demoted on December 3 2009."


The inquiry also pointed out the financial irregularities in the organization. "Fee for translation of text was enhanced from Rs 100 to 200 per page again without adequate justification for the same." The report further said, "Purchase have been effected and consultants engaged without following transparent procedures."


"I am happy that we are getting justice. Earlier, we were depressed and planned to leave the state," said Piyusha.

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