The local city magistrate (CTM)-cum-state public information officer (SPIO) is passing the buck on non-delivery of a memorandum submitted by a group of activists in 2012 in the name of officials holding higher public offices.
The Right to Information (RTI) activist from Samalkha town of the district, PP Kapoor, had submitted a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) on October 12 last year.
But even after a year, a 14-point public charter of demand has failed to reach to one of its addressees- the chief information commissioner (CIC).
In a brief press note issued by the district administration on Monday evening claimed that the CTM-cum-
SPIO had submitted a detailed reply to Kapoor's questionnaire on October 14.
It further said that following the official procedure, Kapoor's memorandum was forwarded to the office of commissioner, Rohtak division for further action.
Kapoor, who has demanded compensation from the local district administration for non-deliverance of a memorandum containing “public issues” to the original addressees, has disputed the official claim.
“Even after a year the letter handed over officially to the administration has not reached to the office and the CTM-cum-SPIO is now trying to wash off his hands from the distasteful goof up in the guise of official procedure,” alleges Kapoor.
Activists had submitted a memorandum with suggestions of effective implementation of RTI Act in the state. The message was meant for the President, governor and CIC, Haryana.
In June 2013, Kapoor filed a RTI petition to the CIC to know what steps were taken by the commission on their suggestion.
However, the CIC clarified that it did not receive the letter on the issues raised by the Panipat administration.
Kapoor approached the CTM-cum-SPIO through the RTI route and asked for details on when the memorandum to the addressees was sent including the diary number, date and receipts of postal dispatch.
After he got no response, Kapoor filed an appeal with the Panipat deputy commissioner-cum-first appellate authority (FAA) on September 14.
“But the FAA neither sent me any notice nor did it hear my appeal. Instead of replying why the memorandum submitted to the SDM had not reached to the addressees (read CIC); the CTM-cum-SPIO is trying to shift blame from his office by saying that the letter was forwarded to the commissioner's office.
There is no word on why the memorandum did not reach to the CIC and the FAA is silent on my RTI appeal against CTM-cum-SPIO,” Kapoor said.
Sources said a memorandum is first sent to the divisional commissioner which is then forwarded to the officer of financial commissioner revenue at Chandigarh.
The memorandums are then sent to the office of chief secretary and then these are finally delivered to the addressees.
“The bureaucratic system defeats the purpose of raising any public issue. In this case, our joint effort of suggesting ways of strengthening RTI is diluted due to the bureaucratic hurdles,” added Kapoor.
He said it was a normal practice where the district officials urge the public to hand over their charters or problems, suggestions and demands to them which would be duly forwarded to the authorities concerned.
“The memorandum was meant for the CIC whereas the authorities sent it to the Rohtak divisional commissioner. I wonder if the system has any accountability of the bureaucracy in such cases,” Kapoor said.
Meanwhile, accepting Kapoor's petition, the CIC has demanded written submission by the DC-cum-FAA and the CTM-cum-SPIO in this case by December 2. Besides, both the officials have to appear before SIC PS Meena on December 11 personally or through a gazetted officer.