MANGALDAI, April 27 - The Government has introduced the RTI Act, 2005, to bring transparency and check corruption in governance, but due to a section of corrupt and motivated bureaucrats and officials the very purpose of the Act seems to be violated.
Not to talk about the officials of any other State Government departments, it is the most sensitive Home Department, which has been entrusted the responsibility of looking after the law-and-order situation of the State and that too led by the Chief Minister himself, has been found to be ignoring repeated petitions under the Act since 2013, thereby violating the provisions of the Act. But thanks to the Assam Information Commission (AIC), which has taken the matter seriously and served a notice to the Home Department, seeking an explanation as to why penalty (u/s 20 (1) of the RTI Act) shall not be imposed after registering a case on the basis of a complaint petition by an RTI applicant of ward no.-1 here.
The Commission by its letter (No. SIC/ KP(M) 200/2013 /11 Dtd. 19th March, 2016) addressed to the SPIO of Home Department sought an explanation from the Department and directed him to appear before the Commission for necessary hearing.
The hearing on the first day of April 5 could not be completed due to the absence of the respondent Home Department. The Commission has fixed May 4 as the next date of hearing. However, a written submission on April 4 received by the Commission from B Pegu, Joint Secretary of the Government of Assam and SPIO of Home Department has stated that the SPIO sought assistance from the Joint Secretary, Home (A) Department vide letter dated January 22, 2013, followed by three reminders without any effect.
It needs to be mentioned here that applicant under the provision of the RTI Act on January 11, 2013, filed a petition before the PIO, Home Department, Govt of Assam, seeking information regarding the promotion of police officers in the Assam Police to the rank of DSP, ASP and SP in the year 2012 and if any case of criminal nature pending against any of the said senior police officials enjoying promotional benefits.
Unfortunately, the Home Department denied any information, which led to the applicant to raise complaint before AIC on April 19, 2013.
According to the information received from the Director General of Police of the Assam Police, out of 87 officers, 52 were promoted from Inspectors to Deputy Superintendent of Police, 26 officers were promoted to Additional Superintendent of Police and other nine to the rank of Superintendent of Police or Commandants. Significantly, some of the senior officers enjoyed the benefits even though cases of criminal nature were pending against them.