Monday, July 03, 2017


Bangalore Mirror: Bangalore: Monday, July 03, 2017.
In what seemed like a David versus Goliath battle, a commoner has won a case against a senior civil judge, a lokayukta brass.
The three-year-old case pertains to denial of information the state information commission disposed of recently. Rajabaksh Hanifsaab Ukkali, a resident of Bagalkot, had filed a complaint before the lokayukta and later took it to state information commission and won against the PIO and deputy registrar, Karnataka Lokayukta.
Hanifsaab’s struggle revolves around a case of denial of information by lokayukta office. In December 2014, Hanifsaab had sought information pertaining to a case no. 1421/2012 by filing an RTI application seeking certified copies of the entire set of documents.
As he didn’t get the information, he had filed his first appeal in January 2015 and second appeal before the state information commission in April 2015. State information commission had taken up the case in September 2016. In October 2016, Hanifsaab had sought the commission to issue suitable direction to compensate the hardships he had suffered after information had been denied to him.
However, in October 2016, deputy registrar Anand P Hogade had taken a contention that the petitioner, being a party in case, there had been a provision to obtain certified copies directly from additional registrar of enquiries. Citing a High Court observation in High Court SPIO versus Anbarasan case, he had further contended that a person who is party in case should directly get certified copies from concerned department and could not seek the same under RTI Act. Further, contending that the petitioner had not filed first appeal and had directly filed second appeal, lokayukta office had sought dismissal of Hanifsaab’s petition.
However, the information commission overruled it citing other High Court judgments. The commission said that the Information Act was an enactment by parliament and would prevail over subordinate legislation. The state information commission ruled that except under sections 8 and 9 of RTI Act, information can’t be denied on any other grounds.
Supporting Hanifsaab, the information commission in February 2017 had set a deadline to provide the requested information free of cost to him within 30 days.
In what can be seen as a victory for Hanifsaab, lokayukta brass heeded to the order and sent the entire set of 204 pages free of cost, finally, marking a commoner’s victory against a top-ranking official at lokayukta.
The information commission, which heard the case on June 5, after reviewing the action taken, closed the case with a warning to lokayukta administration to provide information without delay to RTI applications coming to lokayukta office.
“A commoner winning a case against a lokayukta brass is rare and this marks one such case”, a senior lokayukta staff said on the condition of anonymity.