DIG penalised for refusal to provide information to petitioner
A Staff Reporter – The Telegraph
Guwahati, May 31: A senior police official has been fined by the State Information Commission of Assam for refusing to provide information to a petitioner under the Right to Information Act.
The petitioner had formally moved the police officer twice with his plea.
Commission sources today revealed that on May 15, former Guwahati senior superintendent of police S.N. Singh, recently promoted to the post of deputy inspector-general (northern range), was fined Rs 250 a day.
The commission imposed the fine under Section 20 (1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The police official was taken to task for failing to furnish the first information report (FIR) sought by complainant Tarun Dey of Bhaskar Nagar within 30 days of receiving the petition.
But more than the penalty imposed on him, the observations made by the commission regarding the functioning of the police force are even more damning.
“This is a sad commentary on the functioning of a public office in a democracy, where the public authorities are expected to be responsive to the people,” states the ex parte order, issued by chief information commissioner R.S. Mooshahary and state information commissioner B.K. Gohain.
The order also stated that the fine should be calculated from the date on which the 30-day period set for furnishing the information begins.
Sources said the commission has also issued summons to Singh to appear on June 6, the next date of hearing, when the senior police official may make his submissions as to why the penalty should not be realised from him as calculated before the hearing.
Neither Singh nor any person representing the office of the SSP was present when the order was passed.
Sources explained that Dey had filed a petition before the chief information commissioner, stating that he submitted two applications, dated December 8, 2006, and January 20, 2007, under the RTI Act before the Guwahati city superintendent of police. They had requested the SP to provide him with a copy of an FIR (an ejahar) dated September 12, 2006, lodged by his wife, Jharna Choudhury, and a copy of the petition withdrawing the same FIR.
Despite the submissions, Dey was not provided a copy of the FIR of September 12, 2006 and a certified copy of the withdrawal petition dated September 13, 2006, by the SP.
Dey also said he had made a number of attempts to meet the city SSP but was refused every time. The commission found that it was a clear case of refusal to provide information to the petitioner.