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RTI: IMC mulls embargo on bldg documents

PIQUED AT its manpower and resources being used to settle personal scores, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) may soon stop providing building permission documents under the Right To Information Act, 2005.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 00:38 IST

PIQUED AT its manpower and resources being used to settle personal scores, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) may soon stop providing building permission documents under the Right To Information Act, 2005.

The proposed document denial is grounded in Section 8 of the Act which grants Government agencies the discretion to exempt from disclosure private information with no relationship to public interest.

Corporation officials believe that a majority of requests received for approved site plans and maps since the Act came into effect on October 12, 2005 have been prompted by business rivalry or property disputes rather than genuine public interest.

So far, however, the Corporation has to dig out all documents, many dating back nearly two decades, sought by the petitioner, notwithstanding its reservations.

“Building Permission staffers spend hours trying to trace old files instead of attending to their primary duties leading to a waste of both time and money”, says a senior official.

Frequently, petitioners place follow-up queries after discovering that the documents they originally sought did not provide evidence of wrongdoing and this results in a further loss of man-hours, he disclosed.

“Recently a petitioner even forged documents provided to him under the Act in a bid to indict a certain educational institution,” revealed another top official.

The Act was introduced to bring transparency to local, State and Central governance and not to settle rivalries, he pointed out. “It is the (Act’s) misuse that has led the IMC administration to moot an embargo on issuing approved site plans and building permission maps.” Section 8 (j) of the Act allows Government authorities to exempt from disclosure “information…which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual.”

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 00:38 IST