Delhi Police earn CIC's wrath for dilly-dallying on RTI queries

Delhi Police have earned the wrath of Central Information Commission for dilly-dallying on RTI queries. The transparency watchdog said a “serious malady” has seeped into the RTI set-up of the city police as the CPIO routinely transfers the queries to districts in a bid to deny information.

The CIC has issued show cause notices to chief public information officer K K Vyas and former CPIO Mangesh Kashyap why they should not be fined by the commission for stonewalling information on queries raised by RTI activist Subhash Agrawal on Anna Hazare’s August, 2011 agitation in Ramlila Maidan.

Agrawal approached the CIC after the Delhi Police headquarters refused to provide part of information he sought from it in August, 2011. Of the 15 queries, the CIC said, most of them were directed to districts while many of them could be answered by the PHQ itself.

The activist had sought information on correspondence between Team Anna and police with regard to permission on holding fast in Ramlila Maidan from August 16, 2011, details about Hazare’s arrest, role of home ministry in his arrest and release and file noting on his RTI petition among others.

Though he received answers to some queries from districts, the CIC noted that Agrawal did not get any response from the headquarters on queries related to it. Most of the PIOs in districts could not answer why the whole of the RTI application was transferred to them while most of them pertained to the PHQ only. To which, the CIC said and observed that the CPIO in PHQ obstructed in the supply of answers by transferring the query to districts.

Barring four questions, it said, all the other 11 pertained to the PHQ and it has come to light that the CPIO avoided giving answer to the RTI. The CPIO did not even bother to read the application, it said while taking “serious” note of CPIO Vyas not attending hearing despite a notice.

“The habit of CPIOs, PHQ of routinely transferring RTI applications to the district units when queries clearly are to be answered by the PHQ itself is a serious malady of the RTI
set up in Delhi Police headquarters,” the CIC order said.

“District units of Delhi Police, sometimes 13 at a time, crowd the commission with the plea that they have ‘nil’ information to provide and that ‘it concerns the PHQ’. Besides denial of information to the petitioners, the wastage of time of senior officers of Delhi Police must also be a matter of concern to the police commissioner,” it said.

The commission has also ordered CPIO Vyas to provide the required information within three weeks.

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