FIR against govt official for not furnishing information under RTI – chandigarh
An FIR was lodged on Saturday against an unidentified ‘public servant’ in Ambala who failed to furnish documents sought by a Right to Information (RTI) applicant from the sub-divisional magistrate’s (SDM) office, saying these “were missing” or were “very old.”
Applicant Neeraj Sharma of Ambala had on May 3, 2018, moved an RTI application asking for a copy of records from the city SDM’s office but didn’t get a response from the SDM-cum-SPIO (state public information officer).
Later Sharma moved to FAA (first appellate authority)-cum-DC on June 25, 2018, which was decided in a month on July 23, 2018, the FIR states.
Aggrieved with the decision, however, Sharma filed a second appeal before the Haryana state information commission, Chandigarh, on August 28, 2020, after which notices were issued to the parties.
The SPIO informed the commission that the record in question had been “missing” and the other one was “very old.”
After perusal of the case files the commission observed that the first appeal of the appellant was decided by the FAA with directions to the SPIO to provide the information within a week.
The commission was also of the view that records of the years 2009 to 2011 had been sought, which were “not old”, so either the SPIO was concealing information or did not want to hand over the records to the applicant, the FIR states.
The FIR was registered at the Ambala city police station under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the IPC on the complaint of city SDM Subhash Sihag on Saturday. Sihag is currently SDM of Ambala Cantonment.
Commenting on the matter, station in-charge Ram Kumar said, “In 2019, the DC received intimation from the information commissioner that an FIR should be registered against the officer who had lost the record. After this, we asked the SDM concerned to fix responsibility, but in his reply he said it was difficult to check who was on duty in that year as his offices have changed and many have been transferred. So, we’ve registered an FIR and will check the old office records to find out who was in charge back then.”