RTI man gets a taste of cops’ strong arm

A man from Vasna who had filed an application under the Right to Information Act seeking to know why police stations in the city did not display essential information for the benefit of RTI applicants has alleged police are using intimidatory tactics,summoning him for hearings at short notices and making him sit with criminals.

Written by KapilDave | Gandhinagar | Published: February 3, 2012 4:40 am

A man from Vasna who had filed an application under the Right to Information Act seeking to know why police stations in the city did not display essential information for the benefit of RTI applicants has alleged police are using intimidatory tactics,summoning him for hearings at short notices and making him sit with criminals.

Manish Benani,who owns a small printing press,had requested former police commissioner of Ahmedabad Sudhir Sinha in September last year to take appropriate action about non-implementation of mandatory display of general information regarding RTI queries,such as names and contact details of public information officers,the appellate authority and the like.

Sinha,who has since retired,ordered all the 37 police stations in the city to follow the mandatory practice under the RTI Act,but to no avail. Benani filed another application on November 24,2011,seeking to know the status of implementation of the commissioner’s order of September 5.

“In response,police stations and other offices sent me a one-page letter saying they have prepared a booklet of information. But boards displaying these information are mandatory as per the RTI Act,” he said.

On January 29 this year,some officials from the Ahmedabad police Crime Branch landed at Benani’s home. Since he was not there,they asked his family members to send him to the crime branch office immediately.

“They came around 11.15 am and told my family I should reach the crime branch office by 12 noon the same day. I visited their office the next day to meet ACP Mayur Chavda,but I was not allowed to meet him. I insisted on meeting police station officer to give my submission but they instead asked me to sit and wait at a place where chained criminals were sitting,” Benani said.

“When I insisted on giving a written submission,they said they were not bound to take my application and instead asked my caste,business and purpose for seeking information. They even refused to give me an acknowledgment that my application had been received,” he said.

When contacted,Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Mohan Jha said he was not aware of the case details.

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