Delhi Government 38 Departments are allowing Ping Pong with RTI Applications, claims the RTI Applicant. A senior Citizen RTI Application asking for handicapped pension for his wife was transferred to 29 Public Information Officers (PIOs). Among those authorities, some of them transferred the application to each other. The issue is in fact, multiple transfers of the RTI application from CM office to a number of PIOs, spending huge amount of money on the correspondence and yielding nothing.
Can Govt spend public money on such purposeless transfers? There appears to be a serious governance crisis as the appellant and the citizens similarly placed, are not getting any information under the RTI Act from Delhi Government, noted CIC.
Applicant stated that “When the question was nonpayment of pension, it is supposed to be decided by the office of the CM, and it cannot simply shirk its responsibility by transferring the RTI application to the MCD”.
Ping Pong with RTI Application
The Commission finds larger public interest in the RTI request filed by the appellant. It is a major human rights problem for lakhs of pensioners who are found eligible to receive pension according to the Govt schemes and are not getting the pension.
The appellant in this case questioned how the government could permit its 38 departments to spend money in transferring his RTI application and build up a huge file of papers. Is there no financial crunch for such activity? He also questioned that the Govt representatives attending the hearings in 1st/2nd appeals, are using the govt vehicles or private taxies paid by office, for which funds are available. When the government does not release the funds for payment of pension, how can the civic bodies and the departments can give any information on nonpayment of pension? The CMO should have replied the appellant that they are not in a position to release the funds and that they cannot pay pension. Instead they have transferred to various departments without leading to disclosure of any information.
The Commission, therefore, directed the CMO to furnish a white paper on the status of all kinds of pensions in Delhi Government, reasons for nonpayment, time of resumption of payment of pension, time of payment of arrears, etc within 20 days from the date of receipt of this order.
The decision can be read here!