“You could be booked by the police if you try to get information under the Right to Information Act,” people told Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his Janata Darbar.
The complainants alleged they had been implicated in false cases for seeking information from police stations or departments under the RTI Act. Some complainants have charged policemen with initiating action against them under sections 107 and 123 of the CrPC after declaring them litigants. The police action has forced these people to run from pillar to post to seek anticipatory bail from the court.
A former Army officer, captain (retd) Shivnath Singh had sought information from the Maner police station in Patna district about a case lodged against him. Initially, the policemen ignored him but when he sought information under the RTI Act, the cops at the police station declared him a litigant, saying that he had been in the habit of quarrelling with neighbours. The policemen reportedly sought permission from senior officers to initiate action against Singh.
“I am shocked at the attitude of the station house officer of the police station. I have also complained against him to the IG, Patna zone,” he told reporters at Danapur.
Singh’s is not an isolated case. Maheshwar Prasad Singh, a resident of Kalyanbigha in Nalanda district, alleged that he was implicated in a case when he intervened in the use of substandard material in the construction of Dwarikabigha-Kalyanbigha road. “I had to seek bail from the court,” he said.
The government has taken a serious note of such complaints. The Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department last week issued instructions to all district magistrates and the superintendents of police, asking them to pay special attention to such complaints.
The government communiqué said no person seeking progress report on any case or information about development work should be harassed.