The MP State Information Commission has taken a very stern view of the failure of the food and drugs administration (FDA) officials to provide information related to adulterated food under the right to information (RTI) Act and issued show-cause notices to three officers.
During a hearing on Wednesday, information commissioner Atmadeep directed that show-cause notices should be issued to the chief medical and health officer (CMHO) of Bhind district Rakesh Sharma (who is also ex-officio deputy director, FDA) and food security officers of Ashu Kushwaha of Sagar and Shivraj Pawak of Hoshangabad.
The show-cause notices ask why punitive action should not be initiated against them for violating the RTI norms and for failing to comply with the earlier directives of the commission, Atmadeep told HT.
They have been asked to reply to the notices by the next hearing date: March 2. The information commissioner has warned the officers that if they fail to respond, one-sided punitive action would be initiated against them.
The case: SB Singh, a resident of Gwalior, had sought details of test report of the adulterated food samples collected from Bhind district from the State Food Laboratory of FDA in 2012. Despite orders of the FDA director, Bhopal and its deputy director at Bhind, the information was not provided during the last three years.
Erstwhile public information officer of FDA lab, Bhopal Ashu Kushwaha (now posted in Sagar) did not provide info to the appellant and also failed to intimate him about the fees and first appeal procedure.
On this part the appellate authority, Rakesh Sharma (CMHO) did not conduct the first hearing. Rather quoting a letter of the erstwhile food inspector and PIO of FDA, Bhind, Shivraj Pawak (now posted in Hoshangabad), the CMHO refused to give information to Singh under sections 8 and 9 of the RTI.
Conducting the hearing earlier, info commissioner Atmadeep had held the CMHO Rakesh Sharma as deemed PIO in the case and issued notice to him for impeding the information. The commission had also directed that information should be provided to the appellant at the earliest.
Dissatisfied with Sharma’s reply, the commissioner has again directed him to provide a satisfactory reply by March 2.
Notices of penalty were issued to Ashu Kushwaha and Pawak for not providing the info within due time limit. Pawak told the commission that he had provided the info after the earlier order of the commission. But the appellant argued that the information was incomplete and wrong. The official has been asked to be present at the commission for March 2 hearing with complete information. The present PIO of FDA at Bhind was asked to provide information to the appellant within seven days, the info commissioner told HT.