Thursday, February 23, 2017

Info commission directs police to provide details on reports of missing and stolen mobiles

DNA: Mumbai: Thursday, February 23, 2017.
RTI applicant from Dadar who sought details from the Mumbai Police of how cases of lost or stolen mobile phones are dealt with.
On an application filed by an RTI applicant from Dadar who sought details from the Mumbai Police of how cases of lost or stolen mobile phones are dealt with, the State Information Commission (SIC) has asked police to provide details of the register that keeps track of missing mobile phones. It has also asked to provide details of the Commissioner or DGP's letter on what the police is supposed to do when they get such a complaint, and the report that they finally prepare in such cases. The order was given after the police failed to provide information to an applicant.
Mahendra Dharod from Dadar had filed the RTI application. He further demanded details about officers who are supposed to look into the complaints, the rules, regulations and standard procedure to be followed while recovering such mobile phones, number of mobile phones traced, reasons recorded if mobiles are not traced, and time period in which the mobile phone has to be kept under tracking.
In his reply, the Public Information Officer (PIO) stated there was no public interest that will be served while giving the information and hence, it was denied under the clause that it was personal in nature. The section cited while denying the information by the PIO was 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.
The section reads, "(There shall be no obligation to give any citizen) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person."
When Dharod approached the first appellate authority, he too dismissed the application stating that PIO had given right information. During the second appeal, the commission first directed the police department to provide information about the 'register of missing articles' that contains such information, orders of police commissioners on how to go about investigating such missing articles and the letter that police stations give to the officers. When the order was not complied, a complaint was filed.
During the complaint hearing on non-compliance of his order, Ajitkumar Jain, the Information Commissioner (Brihanmumbai bench) asked the assistant secretary of the commission to conduct an enquiry, and call for all the above details and provide them to the applicant. It also said that rules and the opinion on them also be provided to the commission. The complaint hearing order was issued on January 31, 2017.
"The reason I had sought this information is because most of the time police officials refuse to file an FIR when a mobile phone is lost. They instead issue a missing certificate. I wanted to know what they do after that. They had said earlier that they relay information to different police stations, and then do not do anything about it. I will wait to get all information from them," said Dharod.