RTI replying officers often get flak for ‘harassing’ the activists by either sleeping on their requests or being economical with truth in their replies.
There have been many instances of RTI replying officers being fined for dereliction in duty.
But, one RTI replying officer in Delhi government, Harjeet Singh, fell victim to the mischief by his own colleagues seven years ago.
Seven years ago, a forged RTI reply furnished from his office triggered his harassment.
Much to his relief, he’s now found refuge in the CIC, which has ordered the Chief Minister’s Office to inquire into the matter.
According to news agency PTI, in 2008, a response was issued from his office to one L D Chopra even when no RTI application was filed.
The unsigned response said that certified copies of a will have been provided without due process of law.
On the basis of this unsigned response, Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government started proceedings against Singh who had by then moved as an administrative officer in Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
Singh started filing RTI applications seeking details of the RTI response which triggered action against him but no reply was furnished to him.
Even earlier orders of the CIC did not help prompting Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu to take dim view on it.
“The reply served its purpose to help land grabber and its serious side effect was that one responsible officer of public authority suffered humiliation and insults as he faced investigations for no fault of him causing mental depression to entire family members,” he said.
Acharyulu said it is not clear till now which public servant had issued the letter dated SPIO/DC/(N)/RTI/5/ID No.360/928 dated February 14, 2008 which is fabricated.
“It appears that officer who signed the letter is known to others, but all of them are shielding him by putting forward the ‘non traceable’ plea. The Government has responsibility to probe this through an appropriate investigating authority,” he was quoted by PTI.