Thursday, May 25, 2017


Bangalore Mirror: Bangalore: Thursday, May 25, 2017.
In 2008, Timmakka, a resident of Sira Taluk in neighbouring Tumakuru district, had applied for a grant under the National Family Benefit Scheme, a social assistance scheme, under which a lump sum of Rs 10,000 is granted to the next of kin in case the sole breadwinner dies. For the 47-year-old widow, quick disbursal of the amount would’ve been a relief, but that was not to be. Finally, after nine long years, Timmakka got the money only after a directive by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC). Interestingly, the acknowledgment of the application she kept was a vital factor which helped her win the case.
It was in 2008 she first moved the application for relief. In 2011, after three years, she had sought information under RTI on the status of her application. Once again, no information was provided by tahsildar’s office. In 2012, she had then moved KIC.
After hearing the case and repeated directions to provide information, KIC, in September 2015 had decided to crack down on the erring revenue officials. It had also ordered submission of catalogue and index files of the entire office. Besides, KIC had also ordered the tahsildar to identify and initiate action against officials, who handled the file under the Karnataka State Public Records Act. It also had asked the tahsildar, Sira Honnashame Gowda, to explain why a compensation of Rs 10,000 should not be ordered for the hardships that Timmakka suffered.
In May 2015, the Sira tahsildar’s office responded saying the files had been destroyed since the original plea was filed more than five years ago. In January 2016, while the tahsildar ordered an enquiry, KIC levied a penalty of Rs 10,000 on Nagahanumaiah, which he paid in two installments in May and June 2016. In February 2016, KIC levied a penalty of Rs 1,000 on Honnashame Gowda for not providing information. The commission had also directed Tumakuru DC to act on the denial of information. KIC had also asked tahsildar, Sira, to show-cause asking why a penalty of Rs 25,000 should not be levied for denial of information.
With pressure mounting, the tahsildar had directed his revenue inspector to create a part file and report if Timmaka’s case had merit. After verifying records, revenue inspector, Gowdagere, declared the file fit. Following this, on April 28, Timmakka was issued a cheque of Rs 10,000 -- nine years after she filed the application.
“Missing a file and denial of information is a serious lapse. The entire case sustained because of the acknowledgment slip she had retained,” L Krishna Murthy, state CIC told Mirror.