Abid Hussain

SIC directs ADC Budgam to provide info to RTI appellants within 15 days

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'ADC deliberately avoid hearings in Commission'

Budgam, July 30: The State Information Commission (SIC) has directed Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Budgam, who is also the Public Information Officer (PIO), to provide "balance" information to RTI appellants regarding details of Khansahib MLC fund within 15 days.

"In view of the time restraint under section 16 (11) of J&K RTI Act, the appeal is disposed of with a direction to Additional Deputy Commission Budgam (PIO) to go through the original RTI application of the appellant and provide the balance information to appellants within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order," reads the SIC order.

The appellants informed 'Kashmir Images' that they filled RTI to Deputy Commissioner Budgam on September 13, 2017 wherein they sought various details of fund utilization of MLC Khansahib, Saif ud Din Bhat. However, the ADC did not provide information.

Sources revealed that the said MLC has not utilized funds properly and not followed any guidelines/SOPs and ADC in order to save his skin, hid the sought information.

The SIC order reads that the appellants then filed first appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA), who happens to be Deputy Commissioner Budgam on November 14, 2017, but the FAA failed to dispose of the first appeal.

Interestingly, the appellants were given information vide No. DDCB/RTI/2017-18/Adm/9720 dated 28-11-2017, however, they alleged that the information received by them was "misleading and incomplete".

Accordingly, the information seekers filed second appeal before the SIC and sought action against FAA/PIO. "The appellants requested the Commission to issue direction to the FAA/PIO (DC/ADC) to provide the complete and certified copies of information and necessary action should be taken against the FAA/PIO under the provisions of the J&K RTI Act, 2009," reads the order.

Then the case came up for hearing before the SIC. However, the FAA/PIO did not appear in all the three hearings, whereas the appellants appeared in first two.

The SIC order says, "The appellants attended the hearing but the respondents again failed to attend the hearing. On being contacted through voice call the PIO/ADC Budgam denied to have received the notice dated 07-10-2018 of the Commission. While checking the delivery of the notice dated 07-06-2018 through track consignment portal of the Postal authorities, the Commission has found that the said notice has been delivered in the office of PIO/ADC Budgam on 11-06-2018."

The SIC in its order adds, "This clearly indicated that the concerned PIO/ADC Budgam is deliberately avoiding attending the hearings in the Commission in the instant 2nd appeal for the reasons best known to him. As such, registry was directed to issue notice to the PIO/ADC Budgam under section 15 (3) (a) of the J&K RTI Act."

The SIC also directed the ADC to explain "why action under section 17 of the J&K RTI Act, 2009 shall not be taken against him".

Notably, the RTI was filed by Nazir Ahmad, Pir Bilal and others C/o J&K RTI Movement.

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