The Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) has ordered a disciplinary inquiry against two public information officers (PIOs) who allegedly refused to provide information to an accused in the July 11,2006 Mumbai serial train blasts case.
The commission said not replying to the SICs summons is a serious issue and ordered disciplinary action against the officers of the home department (prisons) and inspector general (prisons). The commission has sought a detailed report within a month.
Ehtesham Siddiqui had,under the RTI Act,sought a copy of the state prison manual,police manual and details of criminal cases registered against jail staff and police personnel in the state.
The application was filed before the home department (prisons) but the public information officer forwarded the application to the office of the IG (prisons) in Pune. The IG office,too,refused to reply to his application. After waiting for 30 days,an appeal was filed with the first appellate authority at Pune. The appellate authority,too,failed to reply to his application, said Siddiquis lawyer Shahid Nadeem Ansari.
The second appeal was filed with the SIC on August 21. While the SIC had directed the information officers to provide the desired information and file a reply for denying information,no representative from either PIO was present before the state commission at the time of the hearing.
Siddiqui has in the past filed as many as 1,785 RTI applications with various departments in the state and the Centre. The information gathered under the RTI Act has formed the backbone of the defences argument in the ongoing trial in the 7/11 case. The blasts claimed 188 lives and left more than 800 people injured .
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