Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Bangalore Mirror: Bangalore: Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
In a curious case regarding a document bearing a thumb impression, four sub-registrars who worked in real estate hub Devanahalli have paid dearly for ignoring the thumb rule at a registrar office - to safeguard papers.
After a file bearing the thumb impression pertaining to a sale deed went missing, the state information commission ordered initiation of criminal proceedings against 8 including four sub-registrars, who worked in Devanahalli. The registration department, in a cover-up exercise after the mess came to light, initiated departmental action against the eight officials. However, the information commission ordered criminal action under the Public Records Act, which can land officials behind bars for five years.
The officials in the dock are Imtiaz Ahmed, district registrar, Ramanagara, SR Vasanth Kumar, retired senior-sub registrar, KM Nagabhushan currently sub-registrar, Bommanahalli, N Manjunath, sub-registrar, Chamarajpet, one first division assistant, a second division assistant, and two attenders.
“Permission to initiate disciplinary action against a group A officer and disciplinary action against the others has to be accorded within three months,” the information commission ordered recently, while hearing a case of missing file bearing a thumb impression.
This, after the registration department had submitted that government sanction was required to proceed with legal action against a group A officer, the officer in this case being Imtiaz Ahmed. The commission had ordered registering of an FIR against all the officers responsible for the missing document.
The case
An applicant, N Shivakumar, had sought information for the first time from the PIO (Public information officer) and sub-registrar, Devanahalli.
Kumar, in July 2014 had sought documents pertaining to a land parcel bearing old no.10, Sonnappanahalli, Bengaluru north, and transaction dated 10.06.1968 and documents pertaining to transaction on 10.09.1965. This included documents bearing the thumb impression of those involved in the land transaction. While all the documents had been issued, this one bearing a thumb impression had not been issued. Upon pursuance, the officials had said that the document had been submitted to court.
But as the officials never revealed which court they had submitted it to, Shiva Kumar moved the information commission, which, upon hearing the matter, ordered an inquiry into the whereabouts of the document. The inquiry found the document missing and after the commission’s intervention, the department of registration zeroed in on the eight officials, pinning the responsibility on them.
The information commission had ordered that criminal proceedings be initiated against all under the Public Records Act, which may land officials behind prisons if charges are proved. This, a registration department officer maintained, was te first of its kind.
“Four sub-registrars facing criminal action is a first in the department. This is an alarm bell as they are always accountable for the documents under them. The Karnataka State Public Records Act and Public Records Rules provisions have been invoked in this RTI case, which is a first too. This has resulted in the action. A case of information denial unearthing a case of a missing file and then action recommending an FIR is the first we have seen,” a senior stamps and registration department officer maintained.