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As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 16 November 2009 LUCKNOW: The UP chief information commissioner, Ranjit Singh Pankaj has been penalised by Allahabad high court. The court has slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on Singh for "misleading the court and extending favours to a lessee involved in illegal mining" during his previous tenure as the mining secretary in the state government. The court took a strict view of the role of Pankaj as the mining secretary and directed him to submit Rs 50,000 as fine to the registrar general of the high court from his salary through bank draft within four weeks for "concealing facts, telling lies" and favouring the wrong man instead of taking action against him. The same punishment has been meted out to the Varanasi DM Ajay Kumar Upadhyay and Chandauli CDO\in charge Radheshyam Gupta under similar observations. The reserved judgment was recently passed by Judge Arun Tandon in the case styled Kanti Devi vs UP state. The case dates back to 2007. The then DM Varanasi had invited applications for mining lease for the plots in Singhvar and Babhanpurwa, tehsil Sadar, Varanasi on July 5, 2007. Six applicants, including Kanti Devi, Udaynath and Ashok Kumar Singh, had sent in their applications. The DM Varanasi found Kanti Devi's application to be the most deserving of all. But the lease was finally allotted to Singh. And it all happened when Lalta Prasad replaced Kamlesh Kumar as the mining inspector of Chandauli. Prasad made a new proposal to the DM Varanasi, which recommended the mining lease in favour of Singh. After state government handed over the lease to him, Kanti Devi filed a petition in the high court. The court has directed that Chandauli mining inspector Lalta Prasad be shifted with immediate effect from the place of his current posting. Prasad has been slapped with a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Court has also ordered that departmental inquiry against him be completed within three months. According to court, Ashok Kumar Singh, the lessee was "given the second lease by government officials despite it being proved that he was involved in illegal mining". Source: UP RTI chief fined for professional misconduct - Lucknow - City - The Times of India
As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 25 August, 2009 LUCKNOW: The working of the State Information Commission (SIC) might soon be a `9 to 6' thing. In order to implement the provisions inherently defined under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, UPSIC has come up with Rules-2008 and having well-defined working hours is just one part of it. If these provisions get implemented, commission will have defined vacations as well. More than anything else, it will be helpful for the applicants who rue they never get a timely hearing. The SIC has evolved a set of regulations with a purpose to expedite the functioning of the commission and dispose cases as soon as possible. The regulations have been already uploaded on UPSIC website and await a formal approval from the new chief information commissioner. When contacted Ranjit Singh Pankaj, the new CIC said, "We will look into their implementation." The new regulations specify that applicants will have to be more restrained in voicing their complaints as the SIC will only consider appeals written in dignified language. Besides, the complaints/appeals will have to be completed in all respects. These regulations are already defined in the Act but the motive is to lay stress on them as a set of new regulations is to do with regularising these provisions. If these regulations come into force, even the old cases marked for further hearings will be dealt with in accordance with the new guidelines. The Rules-2008 have also taken into consideration the common complaint that lot of applicants could not make to the hearing as they are not informed on time by the commission. With new regulations being implemented, applicants will have to be informed seven days in advance of the date of hearing. Besides, after coming into force, the rules will make filing of appeal/complaint a bit of `responsible' affair for applicants/complainants. To give commission a proper view into his case, applicant/complainant will have to attach self-attested copies of the applications submitted to the PIO along with the receipt of the fee deposited and of the PIO's order, if any. The `rules' will make the functioning of the commission orderly and timely. The main motive behind formulation of this set of rules is to get exercise checks right at the entry level of the commission. There are many applications seeking information from one or the other government department that come directly to the commission instead of going to the department concerned. If applicants are made to follow the new rules much of this burden on commission's staff will be reduced. The practice of accepting only the right kind of application is already present in other state information commissions. It is a broad-based plan defining the work of commission's officers as well. But it can make a change only when it gets implemented. Source: Listening to complaints 9 to 5 - Lucknow - City - NEWS - The Times of India