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MP info commissioner issues notices to PWD officials over RTI violation

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

The state information commissioner of Madhya Pradesh has issued show-cause notices to two PWD officials for allegedly denying information under the RTI Act to a retired employee on payments owed to him.

RTI applicant Shriniwas Tiwari, a senior citizen now, was posted with the Public Works Department (PWD) as a timekeeper in Rewa and retired in 2010.

He claimed that the PWD never awarded him any promotion or tenure-based incentives and he has been running from pillar to post to get his payments.

Madhya Pradesh Information Commissioner Rahul Singh, while deciding on his RTI appeal, held senior authorities responsible for his grievances.

Shriniwas filed a writ petition before the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2010 which ruled in his favour and asked the state government to settle his pending dues.

Following the court's decision, he approached the executive engineer of PWD Rewa, Hari Singh Thakur, who refused to act upon the order, Shriniwas claimed, alleging that when he approached other officers, they demanded 10 per cent commission for settling of the dues.

Shriniwas moved a contempt petition before the high court in 2014, after which the then engineer-in-chief of PWD Akhilesh Agarwal and Principal Secretary K K Singh appeared before the court and informed that the government was actively working towards redressing his grievances.

The state government produced an order issued by the head of the department, saying that in compliance with the high court order, Shriniwas' issue must be resolved.

The court agreed with the government and the contempt petition was dismissed.

Shriniwas then moved an RTI application asking details of his salary break-up and benefits.

Public Information Officer Thakur, who earlier as an executive engineer had refused to act upon the court order, denied a reply to the query.

Shriniwas then moved for first appeal before the superintendent engineer, who ordered Thakur to provide the information but he did not act upon it.

Information Commissioner Singh, fixing the responsibility, made Engineer-in-Chief R K Mehra as deemed Public Information Officer (PIO) and issued show-cause notices to Executive Engineers Thakur and Narayan Sharma as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against them, along with a fine of Rs 25,000 for RTI violations.

Singh also ordered a compensation of Rs 10,000 to applicant Shriniwas.

The information commissioner asked Superintendent Engineer V K Jha, along with Mehra, Thakur and Sharma, to be present for a hearing on August 28 in Bhopal.

Singh asked PWD Principal Secretary Malay Shrivastav to ensure the early redressal of the Shriniwas' grievances.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 25 2019. 15:55 IST