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RTI whip on Tripura official
Published on 16 May. 2010 11:43 PM IST
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Tripura’s chief information commissioner B.K. Chakraborty imposed a fine of Rs 24,000 on a block development officer for failing to provide information to an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
Krishna Gopal Saha, 43, a resident of Shibnagar in Sadar subdivision, had sought information about the utilisation of funds under the NREGA scheme in the block in the last fiscal in a letter to BDO (Mohanpur) Pradip Acharjee on March 27.
The officer, however, took no initiative to disseminate the information. After Saha failed to obtain the information, he appealed to the state information commission and, having gone through the case, Chakraborty directed Acharjee on April 28 to provide the necessary information within 10 days, but the BDO did not comply with the order, as reported by Telegraph.
“The applicant approached us again with a plea for action. This morning, I imposed a fine of Rs 24,000 on the BDO and ordered his boss DM (West) to realise the amount of fine, deposit the same with the public exchequer and send a compliance report to the commission,” Chakraborty said.
He said all documents submitted by a beneficiary of government job were public documents and should be disclosed to anyone seeking information about them.
Chakraborty had stressed this in another landmark order passed yesterday.
A source in the information commission said Premdas Saiya, 28, a resident of Haryana, had filed a letter under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, to subdivisional medical officer Dr Naresh Tripura on April 9 seeking information about documents submitted by newly appointed Dr Dayasish Chakma, 27, in Chhailengta hospital.
But Tripura and the chief medical officer of Dhalai district, Dr Sujit Chakma, sat over the application.
On May 6, the applicant approached the commission with a petition. After receiving summons from the commission, Tripura and Chakma filed written replies but subsequently queried the applicant why he needed the information.
In his final order passed yesterday, Chakraborty described the documents submitted by a job-holder before joining service as “public documents” under provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 that can be made available to any applicant seeking information about them. He directed Tripura and Chakma to disseminate the information sought by Saiya.
“I have also directed the director of health services to make available the documents to Naresh Tripura and Sujit Chakma in case they are not already in possession of them,” he said.
Commenting on the orders, leading rights activist and senior advocate Purushottam Roy Barman today said they were “very important and beneficial decisions” for protecting the rights of information-seekers.
“In the state administration, there are many who obtained jobs by submitting false or fake certificates. But in spite of knowing about them, we have been facing difficulties till now to seek redress in the absence of proper documentary evidence. The state information commission’s latest order will make our task easier,” he added.

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