|Early Times Report|
DODA, July 16: Although the union and the state RTI laws require that make clear that the fee has to be paid through postal orders, the post offices in Baderwah sub division of Doda have no postal orders for the past two years.
Sources say that even post offices in Doda also don't make available the IPOs thus putting RTI information seekers in trouble as they are forced to buy the same from Jammu.
As per state and central RTI rules application fees for seeking information under RTI law is to be submitted by cash, postal order & Demand Draft. Majority of RTI applicants send RTI application by speed post and thus RTI fees cannot be paid by cash. Banks do not make DD for Rs 10 and the only viable option left with RTI applicants is to keep Indian Postal Order (IPO) attached with the application. Many RTI activists in Doda and Baderwah allege that 90 % of the post offices don't sell these IPOs and from last almost 2 years the postal orders are not at all available in Baderwah and even most of the post offices around Doda including Doda city.
As reported already in past the General Post Office (GPO) Srinagar had denied to share details about the sale of Indian Postal Orders (PIOs) across various districts of Kashmir. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of GPO Srinagar had told an information seeker that he cannot provide the information in an excel format and after some time information had been completely denied.
"We are forced to buy postal orders or IPOs from Jammu as no post office in Baderwah sells the same. Non availability of postal orders in post offices depriving people to use their fundamental right given under Right to Information Act. I appeal State Information Commissioner and Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) to intervene by taking up the issue with Chief Post Master General J&K " said Adil Khan RTI Activist from Baderwah
Pertinently a senior RTI activist had filed an application under Central RTI Act 2005 before PIO of General Post Office (GPO) Srinagar on 11.6.2016. Information seeker wanted details about the number of Indian Postal Orders of Rs 10 denomination supplied to various post offices from June 2015 to May 2016? The post offices about which information was sought included Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Natipora, Rambagh, Bagh e Mehtab, Chadoora, Wathoora, Budgam, Beerwah, Khag, Charar I Sharief, Khansahib, Gurez, Bandipora, Sumbal, Rainawari, Hazratbal, Shalimar, Eid Gah, Safakadal, Ganderbal, Lar, Kangan, Shopian, Pulwama, Pampore, Raj Pora, Mattan, Achabal, Pahalgam. But the department had failed to reveal the details and the complaint has been filed against the GPO which is pending for disposal
"It is easy for a public authority to supply information in an excel format rather than sending the same on various pages. We sought information on an excel sheet just to ensure GPO officials don't face any difficulty while compiling the data. We were shocked to know that a senior officer of Postal Service is saying excel format does not fall under section 2 (F). Section 2 (F) has nothing to do with excel format, this section clearly says that Information means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos etc. We wanted record of Postal orders supplied to aforementioned post offices, how can this information be denied to us? If Postal Department officials don't know what Excel format is, they could have send me information in simple word format, how can they deny the information which is of public importance" said Dr Mushtaq Khan General Secretary of J&K RTI Movement.