Up State Information Commissioners, Good for nothing Junk
No body seems to be bothered to go in to the actual problem of U.P. State Information Commission. most of the Information Commissioners are either discarded Government advocates of High Court (close chums of Satish Mishra, Mayavati’s man friday).Please note and understand clearly that good for nothing advocates, who are unsuccessful in their practices, bribe the politicians to become Government Advocates. Now they have been appointed Information Commissioners by Mayawatiji so that these good for nothings can draw a lakh of rupees as salary. It is but natural that they will wag their tails to the tune of the Government.
Secondly two of the S I C’s are Hindi Newspaper journalists, who generally are nothing more than blackmailers. It is only after the advent of the TV media that the Government’s misdeeds in some cases are being exposed which these Hindi Newspapers were all the time sweeping under the carpet and getting fat on Government dole. Therefore what needs to be done is to clearly get the term “Persons of eminence in Public life” clearly defined in the RTI Act, Section-12-(5). which provides that CIC and other Commissioners as well as S I C’s should come from this category and the Governor be sounded on this. Surely discarded Government Advocates of High Court can not belong to this category. Maybe eminent advocates like Nani Palkiwala, Soli Sorabji etc may qualify but how can persons like Subhash Chandra Pandey, Ram saran Awasthi, Gyanendra Sharma, Virendra Saxena, Brijesh Mishra, Sunil Chaudhary, R H V Tripathi, Major Sanjay Yadav qualify as persons of eminence in public life.
I still feel that initially (till the legal aspects of all the exemption clauses of the Act are settled, for which, high degree of legal Competence is needed ), the majority should comprise of reputed retired High Court or Supreme Court Judges coming from Non Government Advocates Cadre only and a few persons of real eminence in public life ” like Anna Hazare, Sandeep Pandey Rajendra Singh, etc.
I have been to the Commission on at least a dozen occasions and found a all pervading sense of hostility towards the Applicant Information seekers there. They have for all practical purposes killed the RTI Act in U.P. they have been disposing off cases at their own sweet will. They have even fixed their working hours from 11 A.M to about 1400 hours. Even the High Court and Supreme court have not taken the liberty of starting at 11.00 A.M. There is no registration of applications for certified copies of the Orders. The applicants are asked to fill in the application for copy of order , fix rupees ten stamp and one Rs one stamp and drop it in a box. The applicants who come from far off places have no means of knowing whether their applications for copies of orders are ever registered or simply thrown away after removing the stamps. Although the Commission is given power of Civil Court but it has not bothered to note that in civil Courts, Applications for copies are given registration numbers and a record off all such applications is kept and the applicant is aware of his application’s registration number, I myself applied for a copy of order passed on my application on 22-may-2008, all records disappeared and I never got the copy. I applied for copies of order dated 5th
august 2008, passed by Chief SIC on two of my applications on 5th of August-2008, the copy was not ready even on the 15th of September when I went for yet another hearing. On 15th of September, the Chief Information
Commissioner Gyanendra Sharma clearly told me that it was
not his and the other Info Commissioners Job to read the Applications. I was sitting in his office for about three hours waiting for the PIO of the concerned department to come although my application was listed at serial No.1 and all the time he Gyanendra was telling the P I O’s of the concerned departments to use such and such section to deny the information and same thing he told the PIO of the concerned department relating to my application.
The commission after receiving the Application fixes the first date of hearing after about three to four months of receiving it. The notice of hearing, which is sent by ordinary post (mostly it is never sent to the Applicants I myself never received the notice regarding at least 50 % of my applications, again why the Commission does not send by registry is a mystery because the Civil Courts always send notices by registered A.D. post. The intention is clear they want to decide as many cases as they can in the absence of Information seekers.
Although in majority of the cases the Information even if given is delayed and as per the Act such delay attracts penalty clause, which is mandatory and even if the applicant is satisfied by the Information but if the same is given after delay then too it is mandatory for the Commission to issue show cause notice regarding the delay and only if the Commission is satisfied by the reason of reply, then and only then can it waive the penalty. This clause is the back bone of the Act and was inserted so that the Public Authorities take the Act seriously. In all the cases before the Commission it has not even issued show cause notices in even 5 % of cases (Out of about one dozen of my applications wherein I was never given the Information or if given, it was delayed by many many months and even a year, only on my insistence was show cause issued in only one case in which the PIO of PWD department fabricated back dated replies and when on my insistence he was asked to produce receipt of registry, they on 01-09-2008 produced a peon book in which the reply was shown to have been given at a address, which was not mine and even the Peon book was not original, a piece of plain paper was pasted on it and photocopied however the Noble and all knowing Information Commissioner Ram Saran Awasthee found nothing wrong in this forgery and did not impose penalty).
It is a common occurrence that in many cases, two complaints are registered on one application rendering both as illegal. This happens due to poor upkeep of applications/appeals. I had sent one Appeal on 23rd April
2008, in two copies, the receipt of the Appeal was recorded in the register on 23rd April, but the same was again recorded
in fist week of May-2008 resulting in two appeals being
registered on one application. The result was that I got
intimation by ordinary post in one of the two Appeals . S-1-2406 ( C) /08 & fixing 1st July-2008 and went to attend the
same on 1st of July-2008 in the Court of the Chief
Commissioner Mr Khan , who happened to be absent, so attendance of the parties was recorded, My attendance was recorded and the date was given as 5th of August-2008, the PIO of the concerned department was absent. On 26th July I
was shocked to receive a letter No.22009/SIC/08 dated-22-7-
2008, which contained an order passed in Complaint No. S-
1-2763 (C )/08 on 14-07-2008 passed by the Hon’ble
Commissioner Mr S.C. Pandey in this letter I was informed that I had absented myself from the hearing on the 14th of
July-2008 & the Opposite party was present and had told them that they had repeatedly asked me to deposit the Fee of Rs-682 for the Information, which I had failed o deposit & as such I was advised by the Commission to deposit the fee as required and get the information & 5th of August was
fixed as the next date. I never got any intimation of the
Complaint case No.S-1 2763 (C) /08 & thus had no occasion to attend the hearing.
Now the fact of the case was that in spite of the fact that by some mistake, two complaints had been registered on one Second Appeal & in spite of the fact that I was absent due to lack of knowledge, still, had the Hon’ble Commissioner taken care to read my Appeal, which was most concise, short & specific, he would have not passed such an order because the Appeal mainly was in protest about the demand of fee for Information which the Complainant could not be forced to pay for Information in view of Section-7-(6), read with Section-7-(5), as the Letter asking for it was dispatched by them much after the Statutory period of Section-7(1) & 7(3)(a).Thus the Information Commissioner S.C Pandey never bothered to read even a very short appeal filed by me resulting in more delay and complications.
Therefore for all practical purposes the RTI Act in U. P is dead and buried unceremoniously by the State Information Commission.