Inefficiency of Sashi Prava Bindhani, SIC was again exposed, Copy of decision sent to Appellant after one year of disposal
Under Right to Information Act, the Information Commission is the independent, autonomous and final adjudicating body entrusted with primary function of hearing and disposal of complaint and Second Appeal cases filed by the citizens. As per section 19(8) of the RTI Act, the decision of Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall be binding. The Commission is also empowered to impose penalty on erring PIO and recommend disciplinary proceedings against the PIO in case of persistent violation of RTI Act by him.
So, the effective implementation of RTI Act depends on effectiveness of the Information Commissioners and their efficiency to hear and dispose the case properly and ensure justice to the aggrieved Information-seekers. If the Information Commissioners will be inefficient, callous and lethargic, RTI Act will, no doubt take silent burial and the citizens will be harassed and suffer. Timely hearing and disposal of the cases is the most important work of the Information Commission. If it does not happen, the people will not only lose their faith on RTI but the state will push to disaster.
I cite here an example how an appellant is harassed and frustrated due to lethargic work of a Information Commissioner of Odisha.
1. On 18.1.14, Sri Radha Krishna Ram had filed RTI Application (9437920981) to the PIO, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development , Govt. of Odisha seeking information about details of steps taken by the Dept. as per direction of the Information Commission dt. 3.5.2012 in Complaint Case No. 2119 and 1695/10.
2. Finding no information from the PIO, he made first appeal and then Second Appeal to Odisha Information Commission. The case was registered as Second Appeal No. 1800/2014.
3. After 3 years, the case was heard by Smt. Sashi Prava Bindhani, State Information Commissioner on 20.3.17. The appellant was supplied the information. The Commission disposed the case on 19.4.17. and appraised the appellant that the copy of decision will be sent by post. The appellant waited to get the copy for a long period.
4. After around one year, the Commission had sent the copy of the order on 9.5.18. It is perceived that as the Information Commissioner could not write the decision, the staff of the Commission could not despatch the copy of the same.
5. Each Information Commissioner is getting Rs. 2,50,000.00 salary per month and other allowances like house rent, free vehicle etc. When the State Govt. spends such a huge amount of salary and other perks, the citizens have right to question and monitor how he or she delivers. Sri Radha Krishna Ram, a senior and respected citizen of Banpur block of Khurda district had filed complaint to Governor, Odisha under section 17 of the Act against Sashi Prava Bindhani seeking an inquiry and quick action against her in order to save RTI from her clutches.
( It is circulated in the public interest as per request of aggrieved appellant)