Sunday, June 10, 2012

Re: [HumJanenge] Oppose the colonial practice of taking the luxury leave by the Odisha Information Commission

In such matters statutary Rules need to be framed & notified to the public so that people in general
are not put to inconvienience.No such long leave as summer vacation need be allowed.
The Rules should deal with matter relating to leave,office opening & closure,holidays dress for staff &
C I C / I Cs & like matters.

On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM, Pradip Pradhan <> wrote:

Oppose the colonial practice of taking the luxury leave by the Odisha Information Commission


Odisha Information Commissioners have arbitrarily taken Summer Vacation leave of 18 days  flouting the law of the land.


Dear friends,

On 1.6.2012,  I had  been  to  the office of  Odisha Information  Commission to submit 14  Complaint cases  against  some Public Authorities. But I found that the hearing of the cases by the Information Commissioners has been suspended  up to 17th June ,2012  due  to the so-called Summer vacation. In my pursuit to know   the facts, I met the Registrar of the Commission who confirmed that the court of the Commission would remain was closed upto 17th June. I got  terribly  disappointed having  heard this news  and  wondered how could  the Information Commissioners  take  such a long  summer  vacation leave when pendency  of  thousands  of cases  is staring in its face. It needs to be mentioned here that due to inefficiency of Information Commissioners and their unacceptable practice of prolonged hearing over certain cases, more than 10,000 cases are pending in the office of the Commission as of today. 


Another question haunted me,  is there any legal provision or precedent for a quasi-judicial body like Odisha Information Commission to take summer vacation leave. Immediately, I dialed to Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner to know about summer vacation leave if any taken by Central Information Commission.  On my query, he laughed and said that he had never heard  a word like "Vacation" in the Commission. He further explained that the High Court and Supreme Court do of course take the Summer Vacation leave, but that is not allowed to any quasi-judicial body like Information Commission. The Information Commissioners are entitled to take leave  on their own. But  there is no such mass leave like summer vacation, he said.


As regards the practice followed by other quasi-judicial bodies  of Odisha, I rushed  to the office of Odisha Human Rights Commission and then to State Commission for Women which are located  close  to the office of Odisha Information Commission. When enquired as to   whether the Commissioners have ever gone on summer vacation leave,  the staffs of both OHRC and SCW replied that  there is no such summer vacation leave in their offices. They however admitted that they used to take a few days leave during the Raja festival, which is also a local festival in coastal Odisha.


Since formation of OIC in 2005, the information Commissioners  have been  functioning arbitrarily and adopting anti-RTI procedures   in several ways i.e,  disposing the cases without hearing, not-imposing penalty on defaulting PIOs, maintaining dubious nexus with corrupt officials, using red light car ( it was dropped due to protest), making correspondence with the semi-literate persons in English,  filing defamation  case against the RTI activists, misappropriating huge money allotted for awareness programme and above all overglorifying the quasi-judicial Commission as a Court.


Summer Vacation leave is nowhere in practice in any office of a Quasi-Judicial Body. As a matter of fact, it is a colonial practice on the part of the Odisha Information Commission  to enjoy holidaying  at the cost of the state exchequer.  Civil Society Groups and RTI Activists  in Odisha  have  been demanding  for the Commission to afford more  time   for quick disposal of the cases. But, instead of increasing their working hours to this end, the Information Commissioners have taken an arbitrary leave  for 18 days in the month of June. Further worrisome is the fact that they would draw full month's salary, though they would work only for 12 days in the month. Such an act of summer vacation leave goes against the 'principle of no work, no pay'.  

If  the salary  and allowances against the 18 days leave is calculated , all the three Commissioners have together  eaten away a huge sum of money  i.e. Rs.2,88,000/- from the state exchequer. The calculation has been made as follows- 


Mr. Tarun Kanti Mishra

Chief Information Commissioner

Rs. 6,000 per day approx. x 18 days

1,08, 000.00

Mr. Jagadanand

State Information Commissioner

Rs. 5,000 x 18 days


Mr. Pramod Kumar Mohanty,


Rs. 5,000 x 18






It needs to be mentioned here that  the Information Commissioners have been following a queer practice of suspending hearing on every Saturday, which is not followed anywhere in India. Under the circumstances, in order to do justice to the State exchequer  the above amount of money should be deducted from the monthly salary and allowances due to the Commissioners for June 2012. The question rises, why should the Information Commissioners illegally grab such huge sum of money  without  giving any service to the State nd its people. It needs to be further mentioned here that the Information Commissioners are maintaining a pompous  life style, each taking around Rs. 2 lakh per month  towards  their salary and various allowances.  In defense, they may refer to to the provision of the RTI Act, but the question arises, where does the Act authorize them to grab salary and allowances from taxpayer's money without rendering commensurate service for 18 days at a stretch? 

Last but not least, I appeal to Civil Society Groups  and Media persons to stoutly protest against the nefarious, self-aggrandising and illegal practice of the Commission which would further  degrade the RTI regime  in the state.



Pradip Pradhan


Date- 5.6.2012



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