Ex-Lokayukta official, now a dist judge, fined for denying info under RTI

Ex-Lokayukta official, now a dist judge, fined for denying info under RTI

In a first of sorts, a district and sessions judge, who was earlier deputy registrar of the Lokayukta, has been penalised Rs 10,000 by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) for not furnishing information under Right To Information (RTI) Act to an applicant who had sought details from the Lokayukta office.

Gopal Krishna Rai, who is now Ramanagaram district and sessions judge, has also been ordered by Information Commissioner Chandre Gowda to pay Rs 3,000 as compensation to the RTI applicant.

RTI applicant S Bhaskaran had sought details regarding the visitors’ log register maintained at the main entrance of the Lokayukta office in M S Building in Bengaluru. He had sought details of the people who visited the Lokayukta office between November 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, purpose of their visit and whom all did they visit in the office.

When Bhaskaran was denied information, he went for a first appeal under section 19 (1) of the RTI Act and the first appellate passed orders that the information be made available to him. But even after the first appeal, when information was denied to him on the grounds that it was ‘personal’ in nature for being furnished under the RTI Act, he went in for a second appeal under 19(3) of the Act. The appellate not only passed orders to provide information on the visitor's log book in Lokayukta’s office, but also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Rai, who was public information officer and deputy registrar in the Lokayukta at that time.

“The information I sought for was to prove that a mala fide intent did exist in trapping of a police inspector for corruption by Lokayukta officials around the time of the officer’s promotion,” Bhaskaran told Deccan Herald.