RTI ACT DOES HELP: AN EXPERIENCE
Shri JR Lal is an active member of Citizens Alliance for Promotion of Responsive Governance. This is his personal experience.
“I needed to get a small modification made in our family Ration Card.
The prescribed application form duly completed was submitted to Food & Supplies department’s Circle Office along with Ration Card and a fee of Rs. 25/-. For having received those documents and the fee, an acknowledgement was given. The concerned official then directed to return after one month to collect the modified Ration Card.”
What choice or voice does a citizen have in the kingdom of mighty Babus?
“After a month, the Circle Office was visited once again by my son to collect the modified Ration Card. The man in the ration office demanded the return of the acknowledgement for Rs 25/-and refused to hand over the amended ration card. Since the cash receipt was not readily available my son was shooed away with instructions to bring the receipt or a parchi from the police.”
What choice or voice does a citizen have in the kingdom of Mighty Babus?
Proper use of RTI.
It may be of interest for all of us to know that it is absolutely against the rules to ask for the return of any receipt, acknowledgement, etc. issued against a payment made to the Govt. department. Therefore an application under RTI Act was sent by courier to the concerned Public Information Officer viz the Asst. Commissioner of the zone on 01.08.2007 asking information on the following points :-
Whether it is compulsory to return the said acknowledgement to get the corrected Ration Card;
If original acknowledgement is returned, will the department issue a separate receipt to show that amount of Rs. 25/- was paid to the department; and
In the event of failure to return the original acknowledgement, what formality will have to be complied with to get the corrected Ration Card.?
Believe it or not
“Can you imagine what happened next?”
“Within two hours of the delivery of the courier to the Asst. Commissioner of the zone, Food Inspector from Circle Office landed at my residence to hand over the modified Ration Card without any fuss and without asking return of the acknowledgment in question”.
- JR LAL