Social activist Teesta Setalvad said Friday she had not got the information on deaths in police custody and encounters in the state between January 2002 to 2007 and reports on crimes against women and suicides in urban and rural areas of the state between 2000-01 to 2006-07,which she was supposed to get from Gujarat police as per the directive of chief information officer (CIC) of Gujarat Information Commission.
The CIC,in its order,directed the Inspector General of Police,Law & Order (Crime),to provide the information to Setalvad within 45 days and free of cost,she said The Indian Express on Friday. Setalvad said the 45-days time limit given by the CIC to the state police to provide the information sought was over,but she was yet to get the same. I have sent a reminder to the Director General of Police in this regard, she said.
The CIC,D Rajagopalan,had passed an order in this regard while acting on Setalvads appeal in this regard after her three RTI applications seeking the details were turned down by the concerned Public Information Officer (PIO) and Appellate Authority on the ground that the information sought were barred under the provisions of Right to Information Act and a subsequent notification by the Gujarat government in that regard.
Setalvad had moved an appeal against the two decisions before the CIC and it has decided the matter in her favour on March 12,which was made available to media by Setalvad on Friday.
Ordering Gujarat police to provide the information to Setalvad within 45 days and free of cost since it was not provided to her within statutory 30 days time limit,the CIC has observed,..the approach adopted by the PIO and the first Appellate Authority to take a sweeping decision on the information sought by the appellant without giving any clear justification,prima facie appears to be erroneous.
…the appellant has sought primarily statistical information pertaining to custodial deaths and encounter deaths,crimes against women and suicides in urban and rural areas. All such information are generally compiled by the field level police stations,collated at higher level and submitted to the government periodically and the commission feels that this work is a normal routine function of the police department and to debar such information is definitely not the intention of section 24 of the RTI Act,2005, the CIC further observed.
The state respondents did not remain present before the commission during the hearing of the appeal and it was decided in their absence.
Commission presumes that the public authority has no view to offer,and decides to examine the case on merits based on available papers, the CIC order reads.