Farmer's RTI query pending for 13 months

Karnataka Information Commission gave time twice

It has been 13 months since the farmer sought the information.
Activist-farmer T V Ramesh of Totli in Sugaturu hobli sought the details of certain projects taken up by the Gram Panchayat between July 1, 2005 and July 30, 2009. He filed the application under RTI Act on July 30,2009.

Ramesh had sought information pertaining to expenditure incurred on repair of borewells; the numbers of the cheque through which the payments were made; houses constructed under the Ambedkar and Indira Vikasa Housing schemes; beneficiaries of the Nirmala Grama Yojana; expenditure for new pipelines and the payments made therefor.

KIC direction
The secretary of the Gram Panchayat, who is also the public information officer, did not furnish the information sought within the mandatory period of 30 days. Ramesh approached Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) with a complaint against the GP on September 10, 2009. The Commission, on November 10 directed the GP secretary to furnish the information sought within 30 days failing which the official was asked to appear personally before the Commission on January 4, 2010.

Neither the GP complied with the order nor the complainant and respondent appeared on the scheduled date of hearing. The Commission during the hearing on May 10 felt that it was a fit case to impose a fine of Rs 25,000, but provided another opportunity to the secretary directing him to furnish the information within the next 30 days. The case was deferred to August 19.

Grace opportunity
The case took a new turn on August 19 as Nanjundappa, the in-charge secretary pleaded ignorance stating Ramanna was secretary when the application was submitted. The Commission directed notice to Ramanna who again has taken charge as the secretary calling upon him to show cause as to why a fine of Rs 350 cannot be imposed on him for the delay caused. A copy of the order was forwarded to Taluk Panchayat executive officer and the case was posted to November 19.In the meantime, the Taluk Panchayat EO has directed the GP secretary to furnish the information within 30 days.The applicant Ramesh, speaking to Deccan Herald expressed disgust over the inordinate delay. He attributed the procrastination to large-scale irregularities in the Gram Panchayat.
DH News Service

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