Few select criminals usurped plots allotted to the poor in Palam village near Delhi under the 20-point program. The CIC directed the divisional commissioner to check if any FIR has been filed in this case or not. This is the 128th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the divisional commissioner of Delhi to provide information about filing a first information report (FIR) in the house site allotment scam in Palam village near Delhi.
While giving this judgement on 17 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals. The divisional commissioner will see if any FIR has been lodged in this scandal and give information to the appellant and the Commission.”
Badiyal (Palam, New Delhi) resident Ratan Singh Solanki, on 13 April 2009, sought information about allotment of 20-point programme residential plots in 1984 at Palam Village from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Block Development Office. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act...
1. When will BDO be the custodian of these records so that the poor will get rid of frauds
2. What steps have been taken till now in matching the records of these residential plots from ex-pradhan Mr Ishwar Singh of Palam Village?
3. Copy of the FIR lodged against this corrupt pradhan.
4. Copy of the FIR lodged against BDO(S-W) concerned.
In his reply the PIO mentioned that the required information was enclosed, however, there was no copy in the file.
Since Solanki did not receive any response from the PIO, he filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) stated, “the PIO was said to have called requisite information from block development officer-BDO (South West). He had gone through the application before the PIO and the information provided to the appellant. Since the information as available on record it had been provided.”
With this remarks, the FAA disposed the appeal. Solanki then approached the CIC with his second appeal mentioning that he sought information only on four queries, but not a single query had been answered.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the appellant (Solanki) had been pursuing the matter of allotment of house sites in village Palam under the 20-point program. “From his (Solanki’s) deposition and papers that he has shown before the Commission, it appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals,” the CIC noted.
Solanki also produced an order given by Ashwini Kumar, the deputy commissioner at South West Delhi District on 24 January 2002, which stated that only 15% of the persons were found in the possession of their plots. It also mentioned an order to register criminal cases against the unscrupulous elements that cheated the public persons and defrauded the government.
Mr Gandhi said, “The information provided to the appellant indicates that only a very weak letter was sent in 2007 to register a case against the then BDO.”
While allowing the appeal, the Commission ordered the divisional commissioner to see if any FIR had been lodged in this scandal. “If so he will provide a copy of this to the appellant. If no FIR has been lodged he will state this with reasons if any,” the CIC said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823/4842
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823
Appellant : Ratan Singh Solanki,
Badiyal, Via PO-Palam,
Respondent : Public Information Officer
Office of the PIO/ADM(South-West)
Old Terminal Tax Building,
Kapashera, New Delhi-110037
The Allahabad High Court has directed the state counsel to seek instructions from the ministry of personnel and public grievances within 10 days about allowing selective media interaction by government servants instead of complete ban at present
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the state counsel to seek instructions from the ministry of personnel and public grievances within 10 days regarding amendment in conduct rules for government servants. Lucknow-based Amitabh Thakur, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in his two representations, has prayed the amendment to allow government servants to state through media, cases related with inside corruption and misuse of official position, unlike the complete ban that presently applies.
The bench of justices Uma Nath Singh and Mahendra Dayal sought an official response as regards the suggestions made by Mr Thakur for amendment in Conduct Rules and performance appraisal presently applicable to the government servants.
Earlier, Thakur had sent these representations to the ministry of personnel and public grievances, Government of India, but did not get any response from them. He then sent reminder mails requesting them to respond and also stated the need and importance of the changes. Failing to get a response, Mr Thakur finally sought help from the high court through a writ petition.
In his first representation, Mr Thakur has written about the changes required in the Conduct Rules applicable to most of the government servants like the All India Services officers, members of the Central Civil Services and various state government officials. He explained that the current conduct rules act like a barrier between government officers and the public, particularly through the use of media. Some of the important facts stated in the Conduct Rules, which justify these barriers are…
Based on these rules, it can simply be said that a government official is completely banned from making any interaction with the media. Mr Thakur said that though an official possesses a lot of confidential details related to the government, which should not be disclosed to the public, the act should at least allow the officials to approach the media if any inside corruption, misuse of official position etc takes place. Some of the amendments suggested in the representation are as follows:
Thakur further added that these amendments needs to be implemented fast because these Conduct Rules were framed in the 1950s and 60s where there were hardly any corruptions and improper acts of the higher government officials taking place.
In his second representation, Thakur has written about the changes required to be made in evaluation of the performance appraisal of government officials. Currently, seniors make ACRs (Annual Confidential Report) of the juniors and they are evaluated on the basis of that report. But Mr Thakur said that a 360 degree feedback system should be adopted where an employee is also evaluated by his peers and subordinates. Under this system, feedback about the official can also be taken from the external sources such as the customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders.
According to Mr Thakur, the changes specified are very important and needs to be worked on immediately.
Reported by: Anishi Khetan