RTI violator to head State Information Commission

The Mayawati government has finalised the appointment of a retired bureaucrat,Ram Kumar,as the State Information Commissioner and sent his name to the Governor for the final stamp. Kumar was issued notice for violating Section 20 of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

Written by Alka Pande | Lucknow | Published: February 23, 2009 3:42 am

The Mayawati government has finalised the appointment of a retired bureaucrat,Ram Kumar,as the State Information Commissioner and sent his name to the Governor for the final stamp. Kumar was issued notice for violating Section 20 of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

The government finalised the name of 1976 batch UP cadre IAS officer on Friday to take over. The post was lying vacant since last November after the Governor,on the recommendation of the state government,had suspended former Commissioner M A Khan.

Kumar retired as the Principal Secretary,Social Welfare and Social Welfare Commissioner last year. In 2006,in an application filed under RTI,a complainant had wished to know the details of an employee’s appointment. The case (no. 761/3/07) carried on for a year and eventually on July 26,2007,the State Information Commission issued a notice to the Social Welfare Department — headed by Kumar — for not taking the desired action and imposed a daily penalty of Rs 250 which could have gone upto Rs 25,000.

Confirming this,a secretary-level official,who was posted in the department at that time,added: “Such notices are common to all officials when some information desired by complainant is not given in time or the information given is incomplete.”

The case,which dates back before Ram Kumar joined the department,goes thus: on the post of a lecturer mechanical engineer,the department had posted a daily wage employee instead of a candidate who was selected through the Public Service Commission. Later,the selected candidate was given the post but was not given any benefits of which the daily wage employee was getting.

Social worker and RTI activist Urvashi Sharma,the complainant,is ready to raise the issue at the central level. “Ram Kumar violated Section 20 of the Act. Now he is going to rule the Information Commission of Uttar Pradesh. The Commissioner who imposed penalty on him will have to work under him now. I strongly oppose this appointment and will convey my opposition to the President,the Prime Minister,the Chief Justice of Supreme Court,the Governor and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,” said Sharma.

According to Sharma,due to pressure of the RTI,the department got the selected employee,Sanjay Sharma,framed in fake cases and got him suspended. “Eventually,he was asked to strike a deal — take all RTI cases back and get reinstated with all benefits of the post,which I did in November last,” Sharma said.

Despite repeated efforts of Express,Kumar was not available for comment. As per the RTI Act,for the appointment of Information Commissioner,a panel of names is put before a three-member committee,which,after its consensus,recommends one name to the Governor. The committee comprises the chief minister,a cabinet-rank minister nominated by the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. But in the meeting held in this regard on Friday,the Leader of the Opposition,Mulayam Singh Yadav,was not present.

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