HC stays KIC order to fine ex-Lokayukta official for denying info

Rai is now Ramanagaram district and sessions judge

HC stays KIC order  to fine ex-Lokayukta official for denying info

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday granted an interim stay on the Karnataka Information Commission’s (KIC) order levying Rs 10,000 penalty on former deputy registrar (administration) of Lokayukta and sitting Ramanagaram district and sessions judge Gopal Krishna Rai.

The court also ordered the KIC to remove the order copy from its website. The KIC had fined Rai Rs 10,000 for not furnishing information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act to an applicant who sought details from the Lokayukta office.

Meanwhile, sources in the Lokayukta office stated that the Information Commissioner Chandre Gowda, who passed the order on February 9, 2017, had not even issued notice to the office of the Lokayukta.

RTI application

An RTI application was filed with the Lokayukta SP on October 13, 2015, seeking the copy of the visitors’ log register maintained at the main entrance of the Lokayukta office.
The then Lokayukta SP Sonia Narang had rejected the application on the grounds that it contained the contact details of the informants to the office.

 The applicant S Bhaskaran filed an appeal before the Lokayukta registrar who is the first appellant authority. Registrar passed an order to transfer the application to the deputy registrar, who is  the information officer. Rai, who was the deputy registrar, also rejected the application under 8 (1) (J) of the RTI Act on December 22, 2015.

“The applicant should have filed an appeal before the registrar, who is the first appellant authority. However, Bhaskaran preferred to file the appeal directly before the KIC. The Information Commissioner strangely noticed the police wing of the Lokayukta and received the reply that the matter was before the Lokayukta administration wing,’’ an official in the Lokayukta said.

“Without issuing any notice to the deputy registrar, the commissioner issued orders to part with the information. The Lokayukta office filed a writ petition and communicated the same to the KIC,” the official said.

With this being the fact, Chandre Gowda issued a show cause notice to Rai stating falsely that registrar had asked him to furnish the information. “The registrar had only passed an order to transfer the application before the deputy registrar. Rai had sent a detailed reply on February 7, 2017. Two days later, KIC passed an order imposing penalty on the former deputy registrar. We moved the high court immediately and obtained a stay,” the official said.

Lokayukta had trapped Chandre Gowda
Chandre Gowda, the present Information Commissioner, was trapped and arrested by the Lokayukta police in 2000 when he was assistant commissioner of Mysuru. Gowda and a first division assistant C Krishnaiah had demanded a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh to convert a piece of land for residential purpose. The two were arrested and prosecution sanction request (PSO) was sent to the state government. While the government cleared the PSO against Krishnaiah, the same was rejected against Gowda. Despite repeated requests, the state government did not reconsider clearing the PSO. Krishnaiah was subsequently convicted in the case.

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