Striking a blow for the common man
‘Vague’ replies land top cops at CIC office
Officers Say Queries Frivolous
Dwaipayan Ghosh & Abhinav Garg | TNN
New Delhi: In an unusual development, more than a dozen senior Delhi Police officials — joint commissioners, additional commissioners and deputy commissioners — landed up at the Central Information Commission office on Thursday after 22 senior police officers were summoned by chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah in reference to an appeal. The hearing was for a RTI filed by Ajit Kar, a resident of Satyaniketan. The RTI sought answers to 43 questions.
According to Kar, he had initially filed an RTI on various issues concerning ‘‘Delhi Police and the citizens’’ and wanted the seven joint commissioners of Delhi Police to answer them. ‘‘However, the answers I received were mostly vague. Some of the questions were partially or generally answered, while some others were misleading. Hence I appealed to the CIC to provide me relief in the manner that the respondents may be ordered to supply specific and accurate information,’’ Kar said.
While most of the officers turned up in person, a few sent their representatives.
However, a look at the RTI application, a copy of which is with Times City, raises questions about the nature of information demanded. While one question asked the police to give a complete list of heinous crimes and the sections of IPC that were pressed for them, another asked whether all telephone numbers provided in the citizen’s charter were still in working condition.
Habibullah defended the decision to summon the top cops, adding the officers were free to depute a common representative instead of appearing in person. ‘‘Since each one of them had been made a respondent in the RTI plea, summons were sent to each of them.
It is the registry which sends these summons and it was open to the officers to send the PIO or intimate their non-availability. It is for them to decide whom to send or depute,’’ Habibullah said, admitting that even he was surprised to see the entire Delhi Police brass turn up in full force. ‘
The applicant has a very long appeal which we will decide shortly. We told him how the entire force was present today because of his appeal. We have criticised him for that,’’ the CIC said.
A source said: ‘‘With almost all top cops attending the hearing, many important meetings had to be rescheduled. While we respect every CIC decision, we urge the RTI activists to ask more specific questions.’’
Sources said there were people who had been arrested for harassing people with RTI suites. ‘‘While one applicant has filed 270 RTIs in south and south-west districts, another person puts up atleast 90 questions,’’ claimed the source.