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Misuse of RTI Act detected


Atul Patankar

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Reema Narendran at www.expressbuzz.com on 14 May 2009

 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Public Information Office (PIO) at the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), which has been making a mockery of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, is getting a taste of its own medicine. The PIO at KSCSTE has received letters stamped with Rs 10 court fee stamps, but with signatures that are forged and addresses that are incorrect.

 

It was on May 4 that the office first received a series of questions on the Young Investigators Programme in Biotechnology (YIPB) of the Kerala Biotechnology Commission from one N. Jayakrishnan residing at `Vyshnavam,’ Vattavila in Thirumala. However, this Jayakrishnan, who is also the purchase officer at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, has denied any knowledge of this letter.

 

``I have not asked for any information nor do I know anything about the issues related to the YIPB programme,’’ Jayakrishnan told Expresso. ``The signature is almost like mine, but I never signed this document. My old signature is available at the Council. Somebody must have copied it,’’ he said.

 

Copying somebody else’s signature, that too on a paper stamped with Rs 10 court fee stamp, amounts to fraud, the fraudster can thank the stars that the Right to Information Act is silent on this. ``In such cases, when the person denies having sent a letter, the request should be automatically terminated,’’ said State Chief Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas.

 

Sources at the KSCSTE allege that the letter was sent just to harass a top official who had been attempting to set the records straight at the KSCSTE.

The very specific nature of the questions in the letter also points to the possibility of the forged letter being an inside job. The address is almost the same as that of Jayakrishnan, but he denies having a residents’ association number.

 

``There is a slight change in the T.C. number and I don’t have a VPS number as shown in the letter,’’ said Jayakrishnan.

 

The letter has a VPS number of 318-A and the T.C. Number as 19/304 (2).

An office where genuine questions never get a genuine reply, the PIO had become notorious for kicking the public from one office to another when they ask for information.

 

``Ask them about the Science Congress, they would ask you to contact the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, an organisation the KSCSTE had deputed for the conduct of the Congress. Ask them about the CESS director’s qualifications, they would send you to CESS. When you contact the CESS for the same, they would say it is available only at the KSCSTE,’’ said sources.

 

Even the appellate authority is an expert at the `Passing the parcel’ game, with the public never getting any satisfactory replies even after waiting for months together. The Kerala State Information Commissioners’ Office has also received a number of complaints as to the functioning of the KSCSTE PIO.

 

Source: http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Misuse+of+RTI+Act+detected&artid=QZlwc5tHeag=&SectionID=lMx/b5mt1kU=&MainSectionID=lMx/b5mt1kU=&SEO=KSCSTE,+Palat+Mohandas.&SectionName=tm2kh5uDhixGlQvAG42A/07OVZOOEmts

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colnrkurup

Where is the misuse and Where is the harrassement ? This exactly is our curse. Why should the media spread such disinformation as "misuse". The applicant has paid for the information. What made the PIO to verify the signature or cross check the address ? Why should Sri. Palat Mohandas claim it as harrassement ? My second appeals are pending with him for 3 years unactioned. Does not it become a harassement ? As I have been repeating, unless we are empowered to make the Media behave, this will be the outcome of RTI Act. They are searching for such excuses to deny inconvenient information.

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