Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Irked with the continued non-compliance of orders passed over a period of two years, the MP State Information Commissioner Rahul Singh issued an arrest warrant against Dr Vikram Singh Verma, the Chief Medical Health Officer, CMHO, of District Bhuranpur.
Singh has also slapped a show cause notice for disciplinary action on Akash Tripathi, Commissioner, Health Services and summoned him for a personal appearance as he had also shown blatant disregard to the orders of State Information Commission (SIC).
The warrant directed the DIG, Indore Division to execute the warrant to secure personal attendance of Dr Vikram Singh, CMHO, Burhanpur. Singh has also directed the Commissioner Directorate Health Services to ensure recovery of the penalty and initiate disciplinary action against Verma within 15 days of the receipt of SIC order.
In this RTI Appeal case, first the CMHO - who is the Public Information Officer (PIO) - showed non-compliance of SIC’s successive orders. Following which the SIC imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 against the CMHO. The Controlling officer of the PIO, the Commissioner Health Department also turned a blind eye to several orders issued by the SIC first to secure CMHO appearance before the SIC and later for recovery of the penalty amount.
Singh in his orders said that the SIC has been compelled to exercise powers as are vested in a civil court.
Info delayed for over 4 years
RTI Appellant Sadashiv Sonwane had filed RTI Application with the CMHO Burhanpur Dr Vikram Singh Verma in August, 2017. Sonwane had sought information related to posting and appointment of drivers with the health department in Burhanpur district. But Verma didn’t respond to the RTI Application within the stipulated 30 days.
On receiving no response from the PIO Applicant filed a first appeal where the First Appellate Authority issued an order to Verma asking him to disclose the information to Sonwane by October 7,2017. But despite FAO’s order Verma refused to give information to Sonwane.
Aggrieved by non-compliance of FAO’s order Sonwane filed a second appeal with the SIC on March 22, 2018. The SIC while hearing the case issued over seven summons from October 2019 to February 2021 to Verma. But he didn’t attend any proceedings.
Even the Commissioner health didn’t ensure the compliance violating the rules. Finally, the SIC imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 against Verma on December 16, 2020 and asked the Commissioner Health to recover the penalty amount from Verma in case he fails to deposit the amount with the SIC within a month's time.
The SIC despite all these orders and directions over two years has failed to ensure the appearance of the PIO and recover the penalty amount.