Wednesday, February 15, 2017

State Information Commissioner seeks to reduce RTI applications

The Hindu: Belagavi: Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
State Information Commissioner Shankar R. Patil called upon the heads of the departments to suo motu declare all necessary information about programmes, schemes, projects and works, along with budgetary allocations, on their respective websites and at project sites. He said this would bring down the number of applications seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005, by half.
Mr. Patil, one of the six commissioners in the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC), was speaking to mediapersons after conducting a training programme for Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities in various departments on Tuesday. He advised officials to be proactive in replying to RTI applications and not wait for the maximum 30 day period for the same. Data on various subjects was readily available and could be given out quickly.
He said he had disposed about 4,500, of the 8000 cases which came up before his court since he took charge two years and eight months ago. Now, around 30,000 applications were pending for disposal.
Mr. Patil slapped a penalty of ₹25,000 on V.N. Karekar, Town Planning Officer at Hubballi-Dharwad Urban Development Authority, for failing to provide information and non-compliance of the KIC’s order in violation of the RTI Act. Mr. Karekar, serving in same post in Belagavi Urban Development Authority earlier, had not provided information for three years on the criteria adopted for appointment of law officers as sought by an advocate.
In another case, the Police Commissioner had been advised to issue a show cause notice to retired Assistant Sub Inspector M.G. Mujawar for giving false information while in service. Mr. Patil said action could be taken for violations of RTI Act even after retirement of a public officer but within four years from the day of his or her retirement.