By Hemant Gairola
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has slapped a penalty of Rs.1 lakh on the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for making an RTI applicant run from pillar to post.
The CIC reprimanded the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) for "not applying its mind" before forwarding the application to another department, which then sent it to 28 other departments. Information Commissioner Mr. Sridhar Acharyulu has directed the CMO to pay Rs.1 lakh compensation to the applicant. Further, he directed that actions should be taken against all the Public Information Officers (PIOs) who "unnecessarily" transferred his application to others. Mr. Acharyulu has asked Rs.100 be recovered from each PIO and deposited in the CM's welfare fund.
Mr. Charanjeet Singh Bhatia, a senior citizen, had filed an RTI application, asking why his differently abled wife had not received handicap pension for 10 months starting July 2014. The CMO informed him that his application had been forwarded to PIOs of four departments, suggesting to approach them. Each department told him it had forwarded his application to another unit. Mr. Bhatia was made to run from pillar to post, but never got the information he had sought. This made him report the matter to the CIC, which came down heavily on the CMO.
The Commission said it was pathetic that a high office like the CM's was indulging in unhealthy practices such as this. The CIC has directed the CMO to present a white paper on the status of all types of pension given by the Delhi Government, reasons for non-payment and the due date of payment. It has given the Government 20 days to reply.