GUESS WHOM the RTI’s potent power is unnerving? Our men in uniform, of course. Capable of taking on the most hardened criminals, these enforcers of law seem to be getting intimidated by concerned citizens, who come knocking on their door to seek information on cases related to them under the Act.
The DGP’s office here was the spectacle of some such unseemly scenes by police officers, who tore away and threw the applications in the face of at least three people for having dared to exercise the RTIA.
Obviously, these officers either had no answers to the queries or they were simply unnerved that the reply could put them in a dock. Or what else would explain the rude treatment meted out by the police personnel in the DGP’s office to Jagdish Prasad of Puraina village under Kakori police station. Prasad’s daughter was murdered 15-days ago and the local police, according to him, was refusing to register a case.
He had approached the higher-ups with the hope that they would do the needful. Instead, he was rebuffed and his application was torn away by the officer on duty. His, however, was not an isolated case. Rafi Ahmed of Musibatganj in Malihabad was also ill treated in the same manner for moving an application seeking to know why certain accused in a case were not being arrested.
Now contrast this with the experience that Anil underwent at a telecom office.
His telephone is out of order for the past four days. Consequently, he went to the area’s telephone office to move an application under the RTI on the matter.
“The officials told me not to bother with the paper work and simply tell them about my problem, which I did and within four hours my phone was restored,” he said.
On Saturday, 71 people got themselves registered at the HT’s Drive against Bribe camp at Ambedkar Mahasabha officer on Vidhan Sabha Marg. Of them 50 were assisted in filing their applications under the RTI. “We are getting complaints that a lot many departments have still not appointed Public Information Officers (PIOs) to receive applications,” said SR Darapuri, who is supervising the proceedings at the camp with the help of several trained volunteers and NGOs.
The regional passport office, the police and the basic education departments were still not cooperating, said Arundhati another co-helper. Darapuri said a delegation of these various self-help group organizations would call on the DGP and officials at the regional passport office here on Tuesday and take up the issue with them.