State Information Commission has penalised a block development officer (BDO) working with rural development department in Ramban district for denying information under RTI. The SIC has ordered that Rs 10,000 be deducted from the official’s monthly salary and deposited in the relevant government account. While posted as BDO Gool in Ramban district, the official had denied information to a villager who wanted “population details of two Panchayat halqas of the block.”
The information seeker had to move from pillar to post to get justice and finally he knocked at the doors of State Information Commission filing a second appeal.The applicant Ahmad Din Lohar son of Late Haji Ghulam Rasool of Gool, Ramban filed the appeal against public information officer/BDO, Gool contending therein that the PIO had not furnished the information to him within the period specified under the act in response to his RTI request dated 06-03-2017, a handout here said.
Initially, the information seeker had filed the application under the act before the BDO Gool last year in July.
As the BDO “failed to respond to information seeker, the appellant filed an appeal before director rural development department Jammu on 10-07-2017,” the statement said.
Lohar could not get justice from director RDD Jammu who had forwarded his case to assistant commissioner development (ACD) Ramban, the statement said.
Finally after being guided by some RTI activists, Lohar in October 2017 filed second appeal before the SIC.
The commission heard the case on several occasions, and finally vide order dated 23.07.2018 ordered: “Any lenient view in this matter would only encourage infringement and transgression of the provisions of J&K RTI Act, 2009 at the hands of PIOs and would obstruct and frustrate effective implementation of the act in the State.”
The commission ordered that a penalty of Rs 10,000 is imposed upon Bahar Ahmad Wani, then PIO/BDO, Gool and now BDO, Gundi Dharam, Ramban “payable by him in person and deductible from his monthly salary.”
The commission directed the DDO/District Panchayat Officer, Ramban “to deduct the amount from his salary immediately in two equal instalments and deposit the same in the relevant Government Account.”.“The district treasury officer, Ramban is also directed not to honour/accept any salary bills from DDO/DPO, Ramban unless and until the amount is deducted by him from the salary of Wani.”