Dehradun: At a time when plans are afoot to introduce Right to Information (RTI) Act in the school curriculum, the School Education Department of Uttarakhand leads the group of government departments which are busy in suppressing the information to be provided under the provision of RTI application.
The startling fact that more than 1,000 RTI applications have been dumped by the Education Officer came to light only after the issue was raised before the State Information Commission. RTI applicants are forced to return empty handed and their efforts to extract information from the government department in past few years have gone in vain.
In matters where the Public Information Officer and Appellate Officer of a particular department deny providing the required information, an appeal is made before the State Information Commission.
“It is a serious issue. The Education Department Officials are carrying a negligent attitude towards RTI application. Considering the appeal made to Commission, it seems Education Department lacks proper monitoring. Government should take note of the situation," said, Information Commissioner, Vinod Nautial.
It is worth mentioning, in the year 2006 RTI Act was implemented in the state. In 2006, only 23 cases of denial of RTI application were filed. In 2008, the number increased to 100. The condition became worse after 2009 when the officers evaded from providing information to RTI applicants. The number drastically jumped to 300 in 2009.
Subsequently, 230 appeals were made to the Commission. Surprisingly, the number depicts the true picture of the department which is continuously flouting the RTI norms.
Speaking on the issue, Director, School Education, CS Gwal said that Public Information Officer of the department has been directed to provide the details timely.
School education department tops the list of government departments flouting with RTI norms which also includes Revenue department, Rural development, Urban development and Agriculture.
According to the details provided by the information commission, 712 RTI applications under Revenue department, 350 of Rural development, 297 for Urban development , 155 of Agriculture, 145 of Finance, 141 of PWD and 135 of Forest department are not yet answered,