Published On : Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013

Mockery of RTI Act by Collector’s office

Nagpur News: Queries about who sold the lake, with whose permission, on whose behalf, under what provisions of law, etc. by RTI activist Harish Naidu has received a very cold response from the Collector, Court of Wards office. Intitially, the Collector’s office refused information on the ground that the property is a private one and does not come under the ambit of RTI Act.

sonegaonlakeNaidu went in appeal against this decision on 09-07-12. Though the law prescribes that the appeal should be decided within 30 days, the appellate authority and Deputy Collector (Revenue) took almost 8 months to decide the same and the order was passed on 02-04-2013. In his order, the appellate authority ruled that the Court of Wards is a Government arm created by the orders of the Government and hence it comes under the RTI Act and therefore the information should be provided within one month.

It took another two and a half month for the Information Officer and Manager, Court of Wards, Senior Bhonsala Estate, Collector’s Office, to provide the information which was to deny the information once again. The officer ruled that the information is denied on the same premise that the property in question belongs to the Rajah who has refused to part with the information.

“I did not wait for an entire year to get the same reply. More importantly, what is the use of appellate authority and this whole RTI apparatus,” questioned Naidu, while speaking to Nagpur Today.

“The direction of appellate authority to provide information was ignored by Information officer without jurisdiction, power & authority under the guise that Srimant Raje Raghujirao Raje Ajitsingh Bhosle & Srimant Raje Mudhojirao RajeAjitsingh Bhosle has vide their letter dated 30-04-13 have taken objection for providing the information. The information officer refused to provide a copy of the said letter saying that it is a third party information,” said Naidu.

Secondly, the information being asked pertained to Sonegaon lake and how it came to be sold by the Court of Wards, Collector’s Office, Nagpur, and it had nothing to do with the Bhonsale’s. However, the information was denied despite the fact that the appellate authority has ordered to provide for the same. The delay in providing information is conspicuous, says Naidu.

Rohnikant Matey