Official issues circular, then denies info to RTI query | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Official issues circular, then denies info to RTI query

Strange seems to be functioning of the UT administration, especially when it comes to furnishing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

chandigarh Updated: Feb 25, 2013 09:41 IST
Vinod Kumar

Strange seems to be functioning of the UT administration, especially when it comes to furnishing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Sample this: On one hand, a superintendent issues a circular to various departments/boards and corporation of UT regarding annual property returns of employees. On the other hand, the same official bluntly refuses to provide the information under the RTI on the pretext that no such instructions/orders were available with her.

A city-based RTI activist RK Garg alleged that when he sought information about instructions/orders issued by the administration to its departments for submission of annual property returns, superintendent (home-I) Amita Bawa, who is also the central public information officer, stated that no such instructions/orders were available.

Interestingly, Bawa had herself issued a circular on October 10, 2011, directing all heads of departments, boards and corporations to ask their employees to submit property details as required under government employees (conduct) rules of 1966, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times.

As per Section 18 (1) of the said rules, all government employees have to file their annual property returns in a prescribed pro forma.

Despite repeated attempts, Prerna Puri, additional secretary for home and personnel, was not available for comments.

Aggrieved with the response, Garg said he moved an appeal but even the appellate authority also concurred with the CPIO's reply. He was in turn told that his application had been transferred to all departments for furnishing the relevant information directly.

"How can the home department work for creation of environment conducive to transparent functioning when it denies information that it has? It puts the functioning of the department in bad light," said an aggrieved Garg.

A senior UT official, on condition of anonymity, maintained that a majority of the departments deliberately make attempts to conceal the information sought under the RTI.