Days after the principal of Post Graduate Government College (PGGC), Sector 11, JS Raghu received a showcause notice from the Central Information Commission (CIC) for deliberately withholding RTI information, the CIC Deepak Sandhu has now criticised former DPI (schools) Upkar Singh for the same reason.
The commissioner Sandhu accused him of showing a 'rigid and narrow mindset which does not support transparency in the functioning of public authorities.'
The former DPI faced the heat for denying giving information to a teacher who demanded it under the Right to Information Act.
Irked with Singh's conduct, the commission has recommended his immediate removal from the post of First Appellate Authority (FAA), Education department, along with imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on the UT education department for harassing a teacher.
The directions have been passed on an appeal filed by Sangeeta Rani, headmistress of a local school. Rani had sought information under the RTI act pertaining to the status of her case relating to anomaly in pay, on November 11, 2011, from the district education officer (DEO), Chandigarh administration.
On November 29, 2011 the DEO had furnished the requisite information. Not satisfied with the reply, she approached the DPI schools on December 12, 2011, who is the first appellate authority, but to no avail. She then approached the commission on January 25 seeking directions to decide her appeal.
The commission gave two weeks time to the DPI to decide Rani's appeal in July. Much to her embarrassment, her case was not decided. She approached the CIC again on September 17, 2012.
In its defense, the education department then took the ground that neither it had received Rani's application, nor it had received the commission's orders.
However, the department's lie was nailed by Rani after she produced a copy of the receipt of e-Jan Sampark Centre and other documents to prove that her appeal and commission's orders were received by the department.
She further alleged that 'in violation of directions of the commission', she was never called for hearing by the DPI. The DPI had asked her to appear for hearing after a year, according to Rani.
The concerned officials have been directed to appear before the commission in the second week of November. Commenting on the conduct of DPI, the CIC has ruled, "Such an approach is contrary to the true spirit of the RTI Act and is indicative of a very narrow and rigid mindset which does not support transparency in the functioning of public authorities."
The former DPI, schools, could not be contacted for comment.