Ms Sashi Prava Bindhani- Most useless and inefficient Information Commissioner in Odisha- Why and How?
· She lacks expertise and knowledge in writing of proceeding of the case.
· The copy of the decision of the case disposed by her is sent after 6 to seven months of date of disposal.
· It is heard from a staff of the Commission on the condition of anonymity that as she does not have knowledge to write the proceedings, copy of the decision of the cases could not be sent to the appellant or complainant at the earliest.
· She is hardly aware about judicial decorum of the country.
As I recall, when the State Govt. declared nomination of Ms. Sashi Prava Bindhani for the post of State Information Commissioner in June 2015, many so-called NGOs and few Social Activists got delighted and congratulated Ms. Bindhani for her elevation to the said post addressing her as Sashi Apa, Lago Raho. At the same time, RTI Activists of Odisha had opposed the selection of both the Information Commissioners questioning the selection procedure devoid of transparency and terming it as arbitrary. RTI Activists have also raised doubt about efficiency of both these Information Commissioners to discharge their duties mostly hearing and disposal of the cases, the primary function of the Information Commission.
Her efficiency or inefficiency was tested and exposed within very short period of time since her joining as Information Commissioner in June 2015. We have come across many cases to prove her inefficiency as Information Commissioner. But now, I herewith present one of the cases for reference of the public to understand her inefficiency, bad performance and poor knowledge about laws. Her substandard and careless writing of the proceeding of the cases disposed has never happened in any case ever disposed by any Information Commissioner in Odisha.
I am enclosing herewith a copy of complaint of said case addressed to Governor, Odisha by Complainant-Information Commissioner Sri Anuj Mohapatra of Balasore seeking immediate enquiry and action against Sashi Prava Bindhani, State Information Commissioner under section 17 of the RTI Act. My write up has been derived from his complaint petition.
1. That, a so-called private Medial Practitioner Sri K.C. Das (proprietor of Shree Jagannath Ayurvedic Clinic, Darada, Balasore regd no. 5583), who is virtually a quack and practicing his quackery over the years, without ever bothering over his un-licensed status, used to fraudulently masquerade him as an M.B.B.S.A. degree holder ( in the style of Dr. K.C.Das ). In continuation of his years long malpractice, he issued a fake Medical Certificate to a patient named Mr. Sarat Ch. Mohapatra on 21.1.2012
2. Having come across such a concocted certificate, he lodged a complaint to the Collector, Balasore on 6.5.13 with a copy of it duly forwarded to the Chief District Medical Officer, Balasore for enquiry into the matter.
3. For about long six months he waited for the results of enquiry and Action Taken Report, if any, against the alleged culprit who was responsible for issue of a fake Medicate Certificate as mentioned above, but in vain. Then he took recourse to filing an RTI Application dated 15.11.13 before the PIO, office of CDMO, Balasore, requesting for disclosure of the Action Taken, if any, in respect of my complaint filed before the Collector, Balasore. But having got no response from the said PIO, he made the First Appeal before the First Appellate Authority-cum-CDMO, Balasore to direct the concerned PIO to provide the information. Strangely though, the First Appellate Authority neither heard the case nor disposed of the same.
4. On 31.3.14, he filed second appeal to Odisha Information Commission to get the information with prayer for penalty under section 20 (1) of the RTI Act.
5. After a long lapse of one year and nine months, Mrs. Shashi Prava Bindhani, State Information Commissioner heard the case registered as SA No.- 885/2014 and disposed it on 21.12. 2015. However, the copy of the decision of the Commission was sent to him after another long lapse of about 6 months i.e., on 18.6.16.
6. While going through the copy of the decision, he found it a horribly mindless write-up in terms of both language and content. It can be spoken of complete ignorance of the Commissioner about the art of drafting a decision. The following sentence extracted from the decision on the case ( Para-2) shall amply bear out apprehension of anybody about it. (copy of the Commissioner attached here with for your ready reference)-
“ the Appellant has filed the Second Appeal memorandum on 9.4.2014 alleging that the information sought from the PIO, O/0 the Chief District Medical Officer, Balasore through his RTI Application dated 15.11.2013 in spite of filling of first appeal petition dated 16.12.2013”. Does this sentence carry any meaning at all?
7.In Para 3 of the said decision , she has further mentioned, “ the Chief District Medical Officer, Balasore in his written memorandum has submitted that the appellant had sought information regarding allotment received and expenditure incurred about Dengu at Baliapal CHC”. This is a typical case of superb mindlessness, since the information he had sought for was about the Action Taken on his above mentioned complaint filed before the Collector and CDMO, Balasore, which was denied to him.
8. The above decision signed by her proves her rank inefficiency and ignorance not only about how to adjudge a case but how to put a decision in black and white.
9. So many months has elapsed since she delivered the above mentioned decision which was absurd par excellence. Were she able to diagnose her errors as typographical ones, having nothing to do her intent or volition, she could have brought out a corrigendum to rectify the same and intimated the appellant accordingly. But, nothing of the sort has come out in the long aftermath of the mindless decision. By issuing such a meaningless decision she has not only proved herself as a pitiable creature affected with chronic imbecility, but also caused an infamous disgrace to a quasi-judicial, statutory authority such as Odisha Information Commission.
How the inefficiency and inaction of the Commission affects the RTI Act and the Citizen at large?
The Mandate of the RTI Act is to empower the people to access the information held under the control of the Public Authorities. As the information is power, the citizens file so many RTI Applications to different Govt. offices to get the information so that they will use it for their benefit. As per the findings of National Study conducted by RAAG, 80% of the RTI Applicants had filed application to address their grievances. RTI Act has helped a lot to citizens to solve their problems. RTI Act has been extensively used by Activists to expose corruption and irregularities in implementation of Govt. programme. The Information Commission has been constituted to hear complaints/ appeals of the Information seekers. If any delay is occurred in terms of hearing or disposal of the cases, the relevant information, if supplied with direction of the Commission will loose its importance and may be irrelevant. The complaint/ second appeal cases are heard by the Commission after around two years of the date of filling of the case. The Commission took another 5 to 8 months for disposal of the case. After disposal, the Commission takes another 6 months for sending the copy of the decision to the complainant/ appellant. The lingering of the hearing of the case and delay in sending the copy of the order has brought standstill in the implementation of RTI Act and made the complainant hopeless. The people like Sashi Bindhani is dangerous not only for RTI Act but for the nation as a whole.