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Friday, July 17, 2009

High Court issues notice on disappearance of RTI Activist

Chandigarh, July 16, 2009

Taking serious cognizance of the issue of disappearance of RTI Activist-cum Lawyer of Ferozepur, Kiran Kumar Pandey, the division Bench of the HC comprising CJ Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice K.S. Ahluwalia today issued notices for tuesday to State of Punjab, Principal Secretary, Home Department & DGP, Punjab, on an urgent PIL filed by the RTI Users Association (Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh Chapter) through Advocate H. C. Arora, the convenor of the association.

The petitioner has sought directions to the respondents to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under some responsible senior officer of Police Department, from outside Ferozepur District as the Police officers of Ferozepur are not taking the issue of disappearance of the lawyer with the seriousness it deserves. The petitioner stated in the PIL that the incident of kidnapping of Ferozepur lawyer is a serious threat to all the whistle-blower who are exposing corruption in administration.

The petition by RTI Users Association exhaustively referred to the complaint submitted to SP, Ferozepur by Leela Devi, mother of the lawyer, on affidavit on July 13th, stating therein that a Member of the Ferozepur Cantonment Board (Joginder Singh Jindu), and a Junior Engineer, Satish Kumar Arora were annoyed with the lawyer as he had filed a number of RTI Applications for seeking some vital information regarding certain development projects undertaken by the FCB. She also alleged that an attempt was made on the life of the lawyer on July 3rd also by hitting him with a tractor, which resulted into his hospitalization, but the Police did not register any FIR despite a complaint made by the lawyer. Thereafter Joginder Singh Jindu, Member, FCB, along with 15 to 20 other persons came to the house of the lawyer on July 12th at about 6.00 P.M., and profusely abused him and threatened him that he would be kidnapped in case he did not withdraw his aforesaid complaint. Later same day, the lawyer went for a walk at 8.00P.M., but never returned to his house.

It has been specifically alleged in the petition that the DSP, Jasbir Singh, as per version of Rekha (sister of the missing lawyer), is rather terrorizing the family of the lawyer, and advising them not to insist on the names of the above two persons, as accused. The accused persons named in the complaint of Leela Devi are not being interrogated; even an FIR has not been registered so far. In these circumstances, the constitution of a SIT under some senior officer of Police department from outside Ferozepur District is imperative, in the interest of justice.

Reacting to the issue, civil rights activist Hemant Goswami said that it was high time and that the Government should now bring in a special legislation to protect the Whistle Blowers, so that the lives of all those public spirited individuals exposing corruption in national interest could be protected.

Hitender Jain, another RTI Activist mentioned that unfortunately the police often fail to react in time and hardly take note of complaints filed by the activists; rather on the contrary they work to protect the interest of the anti-social elements. As a result, the criminal elements gets encouraged to settle scores by committing crimes in the most brazen manner.

Source: Egroup: rti4empowerment AT yahoogroups

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