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SIC issues penalty notice against BDO Marwah
6/18/2019 10:42:06 PM
Early Times Report

KISHTWAR, June 18 : In-spite of several show cause notices issued by State Information Commission (SIC) to the officers of Rural Development Department (RDD) for not responding to RTI applications , the officers of RDD particularly the Block Development Officers (BDOs) posted in Chenab region (Kishtwar , Doda and Ramban) seem to have pledged not to adhere to the provisions of Right to Information Act (RTI). In a fresh case BDO Marwah in Kishtwar not only denied information under RTI Act to a local resident , but also chose not be present during two consecutive appeal hearings before the Commission's Jammu office. Commission has now issued a penalty show cause notice against the BDO.
Details available with Early Times reveal that an RTI application was filed by one Abid Hussain Lone R/O Dehraie Marwah District Kishtwar on 07.11.2017, seeking information about local developmental works from BDO, Marwah (designated PIO) . When the same was denied , Abid Hussain filed first appeal before the Assistant Commissioner Development (ACD) on 8.12.2017 who is the designated First Appellate Authority (FAA). The appeal was disposed of by the FAA/ ACD through an order dated: 31.05.2018, with directions to the PIO (BDO Marwah) to provide requisite information to the RTI applicant within seven days. ACDs order was also not respected by the BDO and subsequently information seeker Abid Hussain filed Second Appeal before the State Information Commission (SIC) on 29.08.2018 which was admitted on 10.01.2019. He prayed in his appeal for passing of appropriate directions to the respondents BDO / ACD and imposition of penalty against BDO.
The appeal came up for hearing before the State Information Commission (SIC) on 09.04.2019. Nobody was present. The hearing was adjourned with a direction to the PIO (BDO) to provide information to the appellant in light of the directions issued by the ACD / FAA and also to file counter statement in the appeal, within a period of 02 weeks. The PIO was also directed to explain the reasons for his absence from the hearing.
The appeal again came up for hearing before the Commission on 27.05.2019. The appellant Abid Hussain was present in person. However, the PIO (BDO Marwah) did not cause his appearance before the Commission in spite of advance notice issued to him. The officer had remained absent during the last hearing also and did not file any counter statement before SIC. The PIO has also failed to comply with the directions issued by the Commission vide its Interim Order dated 09.04.2019.
SIC's final order reads
"By his failure to provide information to the appellant in spite of directions issued by the FAA and also by failing to appear before the Commission in this appeal on consecutive hearings, the PIO has violated the provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009. A prima facie case is established for proceeding against the PIO/BDO, Marwah under section 17 of the J&K RTI Act, 2009. The appeal is accordingly disposed of with a direction to the Registry to issue a show cause notice upon Mr. Raiz Ahmed Lone, BDO Marwah to explain as to why penalties, as envisaged under section 17 section of the J&K RTI Act, 2009, shall not be imposed upon him. He shall be directed to file his reply within a period of 15 days from the date of issue of this notice. In the meantime, the PIO is again directed to provide the information to the appellant, as sought by him vide his RTI application dated: 07.11.2017, within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of the order. Copy of the decision be given free of cost to the parties "
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