Thursday, December 31, 2009

[rti_india] State information panel asks state to pay relief to top cop


State information panel asks state to pay relief to top cop

http://www.indianex news/state- information- panel-asks- state-to- pay-relief- to-top-cop/ 562126/0

Shiv Sahay Singh Posted online: Friday , Jan 01, 2010 at 0342 hrs

Kolkata : The West Bengal Information Commission has ordered the state home (political) department to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to Nazrul Islam, the additional director general of police (traffic), for failing to provide him the information he had sought under the RTI Act about the chief minister's noting on a complaint he had earlier sent to him about a few senior police officers.

Islam, however, has shot off a letter to the state information officer saying the compensation amount should be paid to him by the State Public Information officer (SPIO) of the home department, and not the department itself, which will have to use taxpayers' money for the purpose.

The order to state home department to pay the compensation to the police officer was given by the state Information Commission on December 15, which set a month's deadline for the payment.

Islam's ordeal began on June 4, 2007, when he filed an RTI seeking information on noting made by the chief minister on his letter of complaint against senior police officers and the action taken.

On May 23, 2006 Islam wrote to the CM saying a vigilance inquiry had been initiated against him for acting in an impartial way. The police officer urged the CM to act against the then Chief Secretary A K Deb, Vigilance Commissioner Shyamal Dutta and the then IG (Vigilance) M K Mukherjee for their alleged involvement in corrupt activities. The Calcutta High Court too had directed the state government to quash the Vigilance inquiry and slapped it with a fine of Re 1.

After Islam got no reply in the 30 days of filing RTI, he made the first appeal to the appellate authority the SPIO of home department. In August 2007, he filed a second appeal to the State Information Commission, but it did not take up any hearing on the issue. According to sources in the commission, Islam had given nearly two dozen reminders on the issue it.

On August 27, 2008, the Calcutta High Court directed to State Information Commission to dispose of all his appeals in four weeks.

Despite attempts by Islam and later by the Information Commission, the CM Secretariat said no record of the letter was kept. The home secretary said they had not also received the original application from the Director General of Police.

After a rap from the court, the state Information Commission finally started the proceeding and the order was given on December 15, 2009.

In its order, the commission rapped the home department. "The Commission considers that the home department, being one of the most important departments, shall have to pay a price for such procrastination," it observed.

Islam, a 1981 batch IPS officer, however, is not satisfied and has written back to the State Information Commission saying it should make the SPIO of the home department pay the compensation amount.

"I request for an order that the amount should be deducted from the salary of the person responsible because the name of the department, which is inanimate, cannot be the offender and the person responsible is the offender," Islam has said in his latest letter to the Information Commission.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal RTI Manch said it is a case of partisan act by the Commission. "I would not like to comment on the issue. Once an order is passed, this is best we could manage from the provision of the Act," said Arun Bhattacharjee, the state chief Information Commissioner, when asked why a penalty was not slapped on the erring official.



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