Thursday, June 11, 2009

Inspection at Public (Establishment) and Public (Motor Vehicles)

The next day after the inspection at the Protocol section, I met the PIO of the Establishment department, who promptly sent me to the Joint secretary. This time, the Joint Secretary was irritated at why I was asking lots of information, but he sent me to the PIO, who again refused to show me the records and that he will send me a reply to my letter of inspection.

But the best was reserved for the ext day. On the third day (Wednesday), I went to the PIO of the Motor Vehicles department. He initially told me that the public did not have the right to inspection. To which I showed him the part of the act which said that

"Explanation.—For the purposes of sub-sections (3) and (4), "disseminated" means making known or communicated the information to the public through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcasts, the internet or any other means, including inspection of offices of any public authority"

Then, he claimed, that the department was not a public authority,. Here again I showed the relevant part of the act. Then he said that the department has already put up all the infromation that is needed for the public on the web. I told him that he cannot decide what is needed for the public, but he must go by what the act says. He also asked whether I would show him my bank passbook if he asked for it. I told him that I need not because he doesnt fund me, but he has to since the public fund him. When he asked how, I told him that we are all paying taxes. When he asked what tax, I listed out that I pay Income tax, sales tax, road tax etc. He said that Income tax is paid only for the income I earn and hence it is a personal thing. His logic was astounding. When I questioned him that if it was my income, why do I need to pay tax. Is it not that I pay taxes so that a government can be run to ensure us basic services. But he went back to his point of income tax being a personal thing. After arguing this point for sometime, he came up with his greatest reply. He said that since his department did not maintain any records at all, he could not show me any records. I was shocked at this reckless reply. Here is an officer of the secretariat, who claims that his department does not have any records. I was stunned. Not knowing what to do, I asked him to give it to me in writing. Immediately he changed tack and told me that he needs to consult the law department and his seniors before giving me the information. When I pressed him again, he refused to show me anything and asked me to wait for the letter from him.

1 comment:

Sowmya said...

It is disheartening to see the way our Government Departments are functioning. Is it not their responsibility to know basic laws that govern them especially the RTI Act which has gained much popularity during the recent years?
I really don't know why the Government (both Central and State) is not taking any steps to educate 'efficient' employees like this PIO.