RTI Act: Lokayukta not exempted

RTI Act: Lokayukta not exempted

In a recent order on an appeal by a RTI activist of Gulbarga State Chief Information Commissioner K K Misra has  drawn the attention of the Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde about the non-adherence of the latter’s office to the RTI Act’s provisions. Misra has requested him to instruct the Registrar of the Karnataka Lokayukta to comply with the provisions of section 4(1)(a) of the RTI Act.

The Lokyaukta had failed to adhere to the provisions of the RTI Act thereby forcing the applicants to file complaint against it on a simple matter of disclosure of information as envisaged under the RTI Act. This  forced the KIC to make the Lokayukta to fall in line with the RTI Act’s provisions like any other public authority. The KIC has has adjourned the hearing to Nov 2.

When the complaint of the RTI activist from Gulbarga Shaikh Shafi Ahmed  was heard on May 8 the KIC had explained to the Lokayukta that a list of all the files in the Lokayukta Office has to be prepared under the provisions of section 4(1)(a) of the RTI Act and accordingly the Commission had directed  that such a list including file numbers, titles of the file, the dates on which the files were opened and dates of disposal shall be published on the Lokayukta website.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Lokayukta Office who is also the Registrar had filed a letter stating that its website has already displayed the details of complaints so that the complainant or general public can see latest state of various complaints. The PIO requested the KIC to treat the same as the compliance with the section 4(1)(a) of the Act. However, the KIC disagreed with the contention.

The alleged arbitrary disposal of a complaint of former labour minister S K Kantha by the Lokayukta, prompted the RTI activist Shaikh Shafi Ahmed  to file an application before it seeking information about the suo motu declaration of functioning of the Lokayukta as required under the RTI Act. To this the Lokayukta replied vaguely stating that the norms governing the Lokayukta vis-a-vis its functions were ``honesty, integrity and citizen friendly attitude.’ This reply provoked Ahmed to file a complaint to the SIC requesting it to direct the Lokayukta to disclose suo motu information strictly in accordance with the RTI Act provisions.

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