BJP MLA Vijender Gupta’s wife on Tuesday moved Delhi High Court against a Central Information Commission (CIC) order that councillors would be individually responsible for recommending ineligible persons for pension scheme meant for senior citizens and disabled.
Gupta’s wife, a councillor from Rohini zone of North MCD, was asked by CIC to explain how she had authorised disbursal of pension to a woman who was not eligible for it.
CIC’s May 13 order came on the plea by one Charanjit Singh Bhatia who had filed an RTI application in Chief Minister’s office saying his wife was not getting disability pension she was entitled to.
“There was an endorsement and signature by area councillor Shobha Vijender, along with a seal of approval. In that application, her (applicant’s wife) age was shown as 69 years. Officers of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) agreed that with monthly income admitted as Rs 27,000 plus by the applicant, his wife was not entitled to get pension,” the CIC had said in its order.
“The commission requires Shobha Vijender to explain… why an ineligible applicant was recommended for the pension in glaring violation of income norms.”
Shobha Vijender, however, in her petition filed through advocate Sanjeev Sahay and Aditya Sharma has stated that the “Information Commissioner (IC) has passed ex-facie erroneous, unconstitutional and illegal order which is liable to be set aside forthwith.”
“The order has been passed without even giving an opportunity of hearing. Fundamental rights of the petitioner have been infringed. The Petitioner is not the authority which sanctions pension. As per DMC Act, pensions are sanctioned by the Commissioner of NDMC”.
The plea could not be heard as Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, before whom it was listed, was on leave today. The matter has now been listed for October 24.
In its order, CIC had asked the Lieutenant Governor to take necessary remedial measures to ensure strict compliance with the eligibility norms and to obtain a comprehensive note on disbursal of pension money by the three corporations so that necessary action can be taken against those not eligible.
The mayor of North Corporation was also directed to find out how many pensions were granted on recommendations of councillors in violation of eligibility norms and to initiate steps to stop such disbursals.
In her plea, Shobha Vijender said that CIC has exceeded its jurisdiction in passing the order which was “without any legal sanction and is devoid of merit”.
“Order has been passed by CIC in excess of the exercise of the power confered upon by the RTI Act. The order has been passed without taking into consideration the relevant legal and factual spect of the case.
“CIC does not have the authority to pass any direction/observation about functioning, administration, dispensation of duties etc. by any government authority and how they function and perform their work,” the plea said.
“NDMC has its own rules and procedure on the subject of sanction of stipened to senior citizens, widows, handicapped etc. and has absolute power to grant or reject sanction pemsion despite their being recommendation by the Councilor. Rules and regulations of NDMC were not even considered by IC while passing the order,” it added.