Srinagar, Nov 9: The State Information Commission (SIC) has slammed the Revenue Department for denying vital information on land encroachment under the J&K Right to Information Act of 2009.
Disposing off a complaint filed by Raman Sharma, also a RTI activist, about land encroachment in Jammu district, the SIC has expressed displeasure that the information has not been provided to the applicant within the prescribed time. "It is further admitted that the information sought does not fall under the prohibitory provisions of Sections 8 and 9 of the State RTI Act. It is informed that later on, partial information was given to the information seeker which is quite late. It is intimated by the information seeker that information pertaining to Tehsildars Jammu and Bishnah has not been received. However the PIO insists that information received from Tehsildars Bishnah has been dispatched on 29-06-2011. The PIO is directed to prove that the information was sent on 29-09-2011 because the complainant has refused having received such information till date," the Chief Information Commissioner, GR Sufi ruled.
The CIC directed the PIO to explain why penalty under section 17 of the State RTI Act 2009 may not be imposed on him. "The reply should reach to this Commission within 30 days from the receipt of this order," Sufi ruled.
The information seeker, Sufi ruled, is an activist and is expected to use the information for public purposes and intimate the Commission about the use of such information. "This is being done in view of the purpose and objectives of this Act laid down in the preamble of this Act which provides for transparency and accountability through this Act," Sufi ruled.
The CIC has been asked to direct the PIO to ensure the furnishing of balance information within 10 days from the pronouncement of the order. "Though the PIO wanted further time for this, the Commission not finding any justification in extending time rejects such requests as the information is due since last 7 months," the CIC ruled.
Raman had asked some vital questions to the Revenue Department in the RTI application. These included details of total area of land belonging to Revenue Department that is in possession of Revenue Department (Entire Jammu District); Total area of land that is not in possession of Revenue Department; Total area of land belonging to Revenue Department that is in illegal possession of individuals and land mafias; Total estimated value of land that is in possession of Revenue Department;. Total estimated value of land actually belonging to Revenue Department but that is in illegal possession of individuals and Land Mafias; Total area of land vacated from the land mafias and individuals during the period 2008, 2009, 2010. Provide a copy of list showing name and address of all the land mafias/encroached land in the format made for the information; Steps taken by the district administration for vacating the encroached land from mafias during the period 01/January/2011 to till date; Steps taken by the district administration for vacating the encroached land from mafias during the period 01/January/2011 to till date.