PIOs were made under RTI act to make easy for applicants to get information. However, some PIOs have seemingly made it their life’s calling to devise innovative ways on how to delay and thereby deny information. Read the news below:
DESPITE DEPARTMENT of Personnel & Training (DoPT) having issued repeated circulars including one numbering F.10/9/2008-IR dated 05.12.2008, many public-authorities are returning postal-orders endorsed in name of “Accounts Officer”. Recently SO (Enf) Babu Singh at New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) returned the original RTI petition together with the postal-order also because it was required to be endorsed in name of “Secretary NDMC”.
While most public-authorities accept blank-left postal-orders for payee’s name to be filled by themselves as per their requirement, some public-authorities deliberately harass RTI applicants by returning such postal-orders, not immediately on receipt, but on last 30th day of responding by revealing blank-left postal-orders are not acceptable, like was done by Puneet Kulshreshtha PIO (IMFL) from Department of Excise, Entertainment & Luxury Tax (Delhi Government), mentioning that date of RTI petition would be considered on receipt of properly endorsed postal-order.
Only remedy is that Department of Posts may be directed to immediately issue special free-of-commission RTI postal-orders of rupees ten payable at par at all post-offices in India with “Accounts Officer” printed as payee’s name. In the meanwhile, blank-left postal-orders for payee’s name may be acceptable by all public-authorities.
Either of the last two suggestions can solve this problem. The bureaucracy which loves to hide behind rules, can only be tamed by framing new set of rules, till the time the bureaucracy decides to fight back and devise new ways to reclaim ‘independence’ from accountability. Because RTI act allows public to get accountability from government, and all attempts to stifle use of RTI is nothing but attempts to hide the inefficiency that bureaucrats may fear will come to light.