He sits in judgement on the merits of RTI applications but has no home to go back to. Tired of living out of a suitcase for eight months, information commissioner O.P. Kejariwal on Wednesday took refuge under the RTI law. He filed an application under the information law to ask the government why he was still homeless.
The urban development ministry had identified a Lodhi Estate bungalow for him two months ago but never got around to allotting him the bungalow. In his RTI request filed before the urban development ministry’s PIO, Kejariwal asked what was keeping the ministry from issuing the orders.
The file had been pending in the office of Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy.
Kejariwal’s set of six questions indicated that he suspected the ministry might have discriminated against him. Besides inquiring how long the file had been pending with the minister and the “reasons for not clearing the file till now”, he also sought details of all allottees in Type VII and VIII houses from November, the laid-down criteria for allotment, whether anyone junior to him had been allotted a house after November 2005 and, if so, “the reasons for such discrimination”.
In the absence of a “proper residential accommodation”, the former director of the Nehru Memorial Museum has been staying at the India International Centre since his appointment last year.
Kejariwal said he had to invoke RTI since his written communications to the minister remained unanswered.
UD ministry officials attributed the delay in allotment of official accommodation to bungalow shortage but refused to say why the file got stuck in the minister’s office. “We will have to check,” an official said.
But if the reaction of government departments to similar RTI applications is any indicator, the information commissioner could get the allotment letter before he receives an answer to his queries.