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Friday, March 20, 2009

Maharashtra’s CIC: If a PIO flouts SIC’s Order to provide Information, it would be a fit case for penalty

As posted on [rti4empowerment:] by Shri Krishnaraj Rao

Maharashtra’s Chief SIC made a statement with wide implications yesterday evening (19th March, 6 pm). At an impromptu meeting in his office with our activist group, Maharashtra’s Chief Information Commissioner Dr Suresh Joshi took the stand that, “If a PIO flouts SIC’s Order to provide Information, it would be a fit case for penalty.” He said this in the context of PIOs who continue to deny information even after being ordered by SICs to give information within one week, 15 days etc. And he said this not once, but thrice!

Why is Dr J’s statement significant? BECAUSE IT GIVE IMMEDIATE RELIEF TO THOUSANDS OF FRUSTRATED APPELLANTS WHO WERE AT A DEAD-END. Until now, SICs have generally held that after passing such orders, they could do nothing more. “Go to High Court,” SICs say with a shrug when aggrieved appellants come back complaining about non-compliance of the orders.

In practical terms, Dr Suresh Joshi’s new stand means: APPELLANTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED SUCH ORDERS AND NO INFORMATION MUST COMPLAIN TO SIC AND INSIST ON PENALTY & DISCIPLINARY ACTION. This includes even those appellants who have previously been told that nothing more could be done.

Our group was quick to hold onto Dr Joshi’s statement. We discussed this statement threadbare with him, and promised to return to him within a couple of weeks with a long list of such PIOs. “Sir, we will go to great lengths to find such orders that have not been obeyed, and you must then fulfill your promise to penalize the concerned PIOs,” we said.

We request appellants who were heard by SIC RAMANAND TIWARI & MR JOSHI: Please email to us 2nd appeal orders which was not obeyed by PIO, along with the name, designation and contact details of the PIO. (Even old cases will do.) We shall compile a list of such cases, and jointly take them up with Dr Joshi for penalty, reprimands etc. and entry into PIO’s Annual Confidential Report and Service Book.

In this context, I would like to quote what Dr Joshi said in his recent letter to Chief Secretary Johny Joseph: “If any disciplinary action has been taken against a PIO, or some punishment has been awarded in a departmental enquiry, this should be noted in the Confidential Report and Service Record.” (Point no 9, last sentence.) Let us now insist on this!

[Read Dr Joshi’s amazing letter in Marathi here:
Read English translation here:

Maharashtra appellants, please take printouts, study them, quote them and use the points for arguing first and second appeal hearings. Dr Joshi has clearly spelled out various rights of appellants, various duties of PIOs, FAAs and others. Please put this to good use.]

Activists present at yesterday’s meeting with Dr Suresh Joshi were:
Pravinkumar B Patel
G R Vora
Indira Chhajerh
Mohammed Afzal
Krishnaraj Rao
Sunil Ahya

Warm Regards,

98215 88114

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