Monday, October 26, 2009

Corpn gets RTI rap: Tahsildar, corpn official fined

Published Date: 22/Oct/2009

G Saravanan

Chennai, October 21: THE Tamil Nadu In formation Com mission has impo sed a hefty fine of Rs 25,000 on a tahsi ldar and Chennai Corpo ration public in formation officer (PIO) and also ordered strong disci plinary action against them for de nying in formation sought thro ugh RTI applications.

Delivering de tailed and sepa rate orders on three RTI appli ca ti ons moved by Che n nai- based RTI acti vist and re search scho lar R Nataraj an, the com mission came down heavily on the erring off icials, espe ci ally tahsi ldar of Myla pore- Tri plicane taluk off ice who per sistently de nied de tails sought thro ugh two RTI appli ca tions.

The com mission also orde red fra ming of cha rges aga inst the Che n nai Corpo ra tion PIO con cerned for viola ting the RTI Act and igno ring sum mons to appear for en quiry at the Com missionerate and re port the re sults of the en quiry within six weeks to the com mission. “It’s in deed a landmark order against the erring off icials who have scant re gard to the RTI Act and its applicants,” Nataraj an told Express.

In one of his three applications to the tahsi ldar, Nataraj an asked for in formation re garding en croachment 4 grounds of land worth over Rs 75 cro res by a major local firm in the Boat Club locality. An en quiry by the panel found that even after 15 months, the in formation sought by Nataraj an has not been given and the tahsildar eviden tly avo ided giving the parti cular de tail to him.

In ano ther case, Nataraj an had sought de tails from the very same tahsi ldar re garding a plot number 131 in St Mary’s Road, which appa re ntly is under ille gal occu pa tion.In this case too, the com mission found that the tahsi ldar of Myla pore- Tri plicane has been de linquent in sup plying the in formation sought by Natarajan.

Taking ex ception to the atti tude, the com mission orde red that the tahsi ldar be cha rge she eted under esta bli shed rules and an en quiry con ducted and re port filed be fore the com mission within eight weeks.

It also orde red the Che n nai Col le ctor to be per sonally re sponsible to en sure the sup ply of the sought in formation within 48 hours at the petitioner's reidence. Corpora tion PIO came on the com mission’s firing line for his per sistent de nial of de tails de spite seve ral di rections from the in formation com mission to give the in formation to Nataraj an for the past two years.

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