Many states are now tom tomming the introduction of a Right to Service Act. But what has happened to the Right to Information Act- tom tommed as a sunshine act almost 7 years back? The response to an application under the RTI Act has disclosed that the offices of the ministers in Kerala had appointed Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities under the Act only on 10/3/2011- after a delay of more than five and a half years! But that is still far from the worst. In response to another application under the RTI Act, or more precisely in response to a notice from the State Information Commission on a 2nd appeal, the PIO of the current CM's office has stated that the applications and other documents are never transferred to the new incumbent whenever the ministers change! Now here is an e mail I had sent to the CM and the Chief Secretary.
from: Ravindran P M email@example.com
to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
date: Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM
subject: How do I abuse the CM of Kerala?
In my younger days I had heard that after every exam the teacher would roll up the answer sheets and throw it up his house's roof and all the student's whose papers did not fall down were declared passed!
Now here comes Oommen Chandy, no less than the Chief Minister of Kerala, whose Public Information officer under the RTI Act has declared the undeclarable- that whenever the minister changes all the documents held with the minister's office is used to make a bon fire (though not in so many words!).
I had submitted an application under the RTI Act to the PIO, CM's office when VS Achuthanandan was the CM of Kerala. Needless to say the issue landed up as a second appeal with the Kerala State Information Commission and got entangled in redtape. Now the Commission has sought explanation from the PIO of the current CM's office and the reply by the PIO is attached. It says that 'the application is seen submitted to the earlier CM's office. When the ministry changes, there is no provision under the present administration system of the Secretariat to transfer the applications and other documents held with them. Hence it is not possible to trace the application claimed to have been submitted by the applicant. So it is not possible to provide any information on it now.'
P M Ravindran