Saturday, December 19, 2009

RTI Act: Official asks reason for seeking info, fined

The little knowledge Punjab officers have of the RTI Act even four years after its implementation can be gauged from the response of the office of Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), Amritsar. The AETC office asked an applicant to provide his identity and residence proofs, such as PAN and ration cards, to prove that he was genuine, and also sought to know the reason for seeking information. Irked by the lax attitude, State Information Commissioner Lt Gen P K Grover (retd) asked S S Brar, Financial Commissioner, Taxation, to take cognisance of the lapses, and penalised the PIO. The SIC said, “The respondent has shown utter disregard for the RTI Act. It is amazing to observe that the officer wanted to check the identity of the applicant, authenticity of his address and the purpose for which information was demanded.” Applicant Yogesh Mahajan of Pathankot had sought information regarding evasion of excise duty and sales tax on October 23, 2008. After he did not receive a proper response, he filed a complaint with the State Information Commission in July.
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