गुरुवार, 18 जनवरी 2018

Complaint to Governor, Odisha against Sashi Bindhani, SIC


Complaint under Section 17  of Right to Information Act

To
Sri  S.C. Jamir
Hon’ble Governor, Odisha
Bhubaneswar


Sub- Complaint against Sri L.N.Patnaik and Smt. Shashi Prava Bindhani, Odisha State Information Commissioners on the grounds of their chronic inefficiency coupled with vested interests, in the matter of disposal of cases and delivering justice to the RTI complainants/appellants- regarding. 

Esteemed Sir,

I, Sri Srikant Pakal, an RTI applicant/appellant and a Member-functionary of Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan (a state-level forum of RTI Activists spearheading campaign for effective implementation of RTI Act) do hereby bring to your kind notice the following complaint for its appropriate and urgent remediation at your end.  

(1)                That, as per  section 17(1) of the Act,  the State Chief  Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner  shall be removed  from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of  proved misbehaviour  or incapacity  after the Supreme Court , on a reference  made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry , reported that  the State Chief  Information Commissioner or  a State Information Commissioner,  as the case may be , ought on such ground be removed.

(2)  That, the Governor  may suspend  from the office , and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during  inquiry , the State Chief Information Commissioner  or a State Information Commissioner  on respect of whom  a reference has been made to the Supreme Court  under sub-section(1) until the Governor has passed on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

(3) It is crystal clear that  the office of  hon’ble Governor  is empowered  to take  action against  the  Information Commission on the ground of inefficiency and unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body.

(4)That, in this context, I would draw  the attention of His Excellency  on the issue of functioning of  two Information Commissioners , their inefficiency  which has subverted RTI in the state.  The information that was gathered from the PIO of the Commission in response to an RTI application, was too alarming and too fretful in respect of the performance of the above named duo of Commissioners, on account of which I felt compelled to lay bare the whole of the unenviable facts so gathered and leave to your pristine wisdom the imperative for taking a just and appropriate remedial action at your end.

(5)That, the said RTI application addressed to the PIO of Commission had sought for the month-wise details of information regarding the Complaints and Second Appeals heard and disposed by each Information Commissioner along with the number of cases in which penalty was imposed by them, during the period from January 2016 to July 2017. 

(6)That, as we all know, Odisha Information Commission  is currently functioning with Sri Sunil Kumar Mishra as Chief SIC and  Sri L.N.Patnaik and Smt. Sashi Prava Bindhani both being SICs.  Further, while the Chief SIC got appointed in Nov. 2016, both SICs  had got appointed more than a year and half earlier to him, i.e. in June 2015. I present a statistical abstract and analysis in the following Table on the information supplied by the PIO of the Commission on 08.09.2017.

No. of Cases (Complaint and Second Appeal) heard and disposed along with penalty imposed if nay by each SIC during the period of 19 months (Jan 2016 to July 2017)
Name of  State Information Commissioner
Total Cases heard
Total cases disposed
No. of cases where Penalty was imposed 
Sri L.N.Patnaik , SIC
3894
1293
41
Smt. Shashi Prava Bindhani, SIC
4220
868
1
Division Bench ( Sri L.N.Patnaik and Smt. Shashi Prava Bindhani)
443
72
19
Total
8512
2233
61

It was observed that while Sri L.N. Patnaik, SIC disposed only 68 cases per month (nearly 33% of total no. of cases heard by him),  Smt. Shashi Prava Bindhani SIC disposed only 45 cases per month (less than 20% of total cases heard by her within 19 months. 

As regards the numbers of penalty imposed, while Sri Patnaik SIC has clamped penalty only in 41 cases out of total 1293 cases disposed by him (about a meagre 3%), the number of penalty ordered by Smt. Bindhani was only a solitary one out of total 868 cases disposed by her during the said 19 months.

Both the State Information Commissioners (Sri L.N. Patnaik and Smt Shashi Prava Bindhani) have performed the worst among their peers from across the country. And on comparison between the two SICs, Smt. Bindhani figures as the worst of the worst in respect of both disposal of complaints/appeals and imposition of penalty on defaulters. 

(7)        That, it is worthwhile to draw a performance comparison between the Chief OSIC Sri S.K.Misha on one hand and that of the above named Commissioner duo on the other. While Sri Mishra disposed 86 cases per month (highest among the three), Smt. Bindhani disposed 45 cases (lowest among the lot) and Sri Patnaik disposed only 68 cases, which though counted higher than Smt. Bindhani’s, stood way below that of Sri Mishra.  

(8)        That, for your kind information, the general perception shared by the appellants and complainants points to a bitter truth that both the State Information Commissioners have been found to be dubiously supportive to erring and corrupt officials and always go an extra mile to protect them from the penal clauses of RTI Act. 

(9)        That, it has been observed that due to utter lack of knowledge, expertise and inefficiency, the dullest SIC, Smt. Bindhani performed miserably, almost amounting to non-performance, and nay, negative performance too, if we take into account the fabulous package of salary and allowances she enjoyed non-stop during the concerned period of 19 months. As has been gathered from the appellants and complainants who had the misfortune of getting their cases heard by Mrs. Bindhani, she keeps on adjourning the dates of hearing ad infinitum and shows in course of the hearings inordinate leniency to the defaulting PIOs and FAAs, simply to discourage the appellants and complainants and to protect the opposite parties. Besides, her utterances and behaviour towards the appellants and complainants has been so disgusting that many of them, unable to bear with it, have simply opted out from the hearing process altogether, paving the way for her arbitrary decision pronounced in favour of opposite parties.

PRAYER-

(10)      Under the circumstances, in compliance to Section 17(1)  of the Act , the office of Governor is  requested to treat this Complaint as deserving of an Enquiry by the Supreme Court Judge .
(11)      Pending the completion of the above said Enquiry,  His Excellency may suspend  both the Information Commissioners from the office  and prohibit them from attending  the office during inquiry under section 17(2) of the Act.
(12) His Excellency  may take  any other action as, deemed fit.   
 Thanking  you

Yours sincerely

Srikant Pakal
Qr. No- 25/1, OTM Colony, Choudwar , Cuttack-754025, Odisha 
M- 9338455092

Date- 17.1.18

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