CUDDALORE: Six Commissioners of Tamil Nadu Information Commission are going over to the districts to conduct enquires into the refusal to furnish or delay in furnishing, the required details to the petitioners.
State Commissioners R. Rathinasamy and Sarada Nambi Arooran, who visited Cuddalore to conduct an enquiry, told reporters on Friday that in the about three years of the enactment of the Right to Information Act, the State had so far received 55,000 petitions.
Of these, 2,172 petitions necessitated enquiries and delivery of verdict. As of now, 300 such petitions were pending before the Commission. The Commission had slapped a fine of Rs. 25,000 each on 20 officials, who failed to provide the required information in time.
They were also asked to provide compensation to the petitioners, such as travelling charges and lawyers’ fees. In case of default, the amount would be deducted from their salary or the provisions of the Revenue Recovery Act invoked against them.
Mr. Rathinasamy said if the petitioners were not happy with the Commission verdict, they could go for appeal in the Madras High Court. The petitions related to personal grievances such as seeking old age pension, patta etc., were forwarded to the departments concerned.
Mr. Rathinasamy said Cuddalore was a model district in the implementation of the Act as it had started accepting online petitions. Ms Arooran said it would suffice if the petitioner gave an application with Rs. 10 court fee stamp affixed on it.
However, for certain people it had become a business proposition to sell the prescribed forms to the gullible. She justified the collection of Rs. 2 for each page of information saying that it involved great efforts to cull out the details and take photocopies.
But, after the lapse of time it was the look out of the officials concerned to bear the expenses, she added.
Collector Rajendra Ratnoo said that under the United Nations Development Project, a sum of Rs. 5 lakh had been sanctioned to Cuddalore district for spreading awareness about the Act.
Of this, Rs 2.17 lakh had been sanctioned and the funds were being utilised for staging cultural programmes, putting up hoardings and bringing out compact discs. Of the 27,000 petitions received by the district administration, 23,000 had been disposed, he said.
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