Appellant lost it because, instead of giving a fresh application she chose to file RTI with the help of NGO representatives.– Response of Public Information Officer (PIO) during hearing at Central Information Commission (CIC)
CIC noted “It appears that the whole issue is of ego of the officers exhibiting anger for approaching through RTI and intolerance to the presence and support of NGO to the appellant.” CIC observed that a woman officer was so unkind towards a 70 yr old poor woman surviving on pension.
After hearing the ‘explanation’ to show cause notice and reading written submission made by PIO/Dy Director (FAS) Women and Child Development Department, GNCTD, Delhi the Commission noticed that PIO tried to shift the blame on to the NGO for not helping appellant to act as per publicity given by Government. The Commission finds PIO has no regret and she is in no mood to restore pension or pay compensation. Hence, the Commission considers it a fit case to impose maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 to be recovered from her pay in 5 equal monthly instalments. If you have any questions, you can head straight to our forum and post. If you want to become RTI Activist, visit our site here on how to become RTI Activist.
The Commission recommends the public authority to take disciplinary action against the PIO for defying RTI Act, order of the CIC, besides dereliction of duty, being adamant to right of appellant to pension, and information, and for non-compliance of orders of Commission.
CIC threatens to invoke IPC against Officer
The Commission directs the head of the public authority to ensure compliance of the all the orders of CIC in this second appeal. If there is no compliance and compliance report is not received by the public authority within one month, the Commission will be compelled to initiate measures to prosecute officers guilty of non-compliance under Indian Penal Code for following offences:
- S 166. Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person.
- S 187. Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance.
- S 188. Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.
RTI Applicant had an account in Post Office and her pension earlier was being credited there. To prevent the various kinds of scams resulting in denial of pension to hundreds of old person and appropriation by the others, the Delhi Government, in 2009 took a policy decision to credit old age pension amount in bank accounts only and not in Post Office accounts any more, for that, it was directed that those having post office account, should open a bank account as a precondition to get pension regularly.
Government had given a very wide publicity by publishing in print media, Radio jingles etc to make the people aware of the new policy to enable them to get their account transfer. Besides they have also organized camps at different places from time to time and visited the houses of people receiving old age pension personally. They were given prolonged 2 year time to shift to bank.
Three times the camps have been organized there but she did not turn up there and was not even found at home when officials visited. They made all their efforts to contact her and help but failed to trace her, then they have deleted her account in January 2013. PIO stated that instead of running behind NGO and waiting for date of hearing before the Commission, she should have applied for her pension afresh, then she would have got the pension. PIO ruled out payment of arrears under any circumstances because her account was deleted.
A woman below poverty line, surviving only on pension sanctioned by the state is now left without any source of survival, despite complying with requirement of shifting Account from post office to Bank, even after CIC’s order.
The rule of pension is that once government found her eligible to get pension as per the qualifications prescribed, the pension gets attached to her and it cannot abate until her death. It is the responsibility of respondent authority to inform her, see that she noticed the change of policy and understand need to have bank account. By opening account in bank, informing the authority about it and filing RTI appeal, she was seeking the payment of pension. But on the pretext that formal, separate and straight application was not filed before the officer, she was deprived of her pension.
The complete case can be read here