UP State Information Commission Issues Arrest Warrant Against Officials For Failing To Provide Info Under RTI Act About Power Connection Dating Back To 1911

UP State Information Commission Issues Arrest Warrant Against Officials For Failing To Provide Info Under RTI Act About Power Connection Dating Back To 1911

This marks the first time such strong penal measures have been initiated against erring officials since the enactment of the RTI Act in 2005.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Saturday, February 10, 2024, 09:15 PM IST
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Lucknow, February 10: In a landmark move, the Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission has taken stern action against officials of the electricity department in Varanasi for their blatant disregard of summons and failure to provide information to an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act regarding power connection dating back to 1911 and has issued an arrest warrant against officials of the electricity department.

This marks the first time such strong penal measures have been initiated against erring officials since the enactment of the RTI Act in 2005. State Information Commissioner Ajaya Kumar Uprety issued arrest warrants against several officials, including those holding positions from Superintendent Engineer rank to Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO). The warrants were issued per the provisions of Section 18 Subsection 3 of the RTI Act 2005 and powers granted under CPC 1908.

Charges Against Accused Officials:

The officials facing arrest warrants are accused of neglecting their responsibilities regarding an electric connection dating back to January 1, 1911, in the Kazakpura area of Varanasi, registered in the name of Uma Shankar Yadav. Despite Mr. Yadav's disputes over a billed amount of Rs 2.24 lakh and his repeated attempts to rectify the situation through various departmental channels, including an issued recovery challan against him, his concerns were disregarded.

Frustrated by the lack of response from officials, Mr. Yadav resorted to filing an RTI application. However, even during the hearings of his case before the commission, the officials failed to provide satisfactory answers to crucial questions raised by the commission.

These questions included inquiries about the provision of electricity in Varanasi in 1911, details of bill calculations, the transmitting power company at the time, and the existence of UPPCL (Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited) then.

State Information Commission Takes Stern Action:

In response to the officials' continued negligence, the State Information Commission issued arrest warrants against several individuals: Superintendent Engineer Anil Verma, Vidyut Vitran Mandal Second Kazakpura Varanasi, Executive Engineer R.K. Gautam, Public Information Officer SDO Sarvesh Anand, and SDO Ravi Yadav.

The commission has scheduled a hearing on February 20 in Lucknow, and has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of the Kashi zone, Pramod Kumar, to ensure the appearance of the accused officials and provide updates on the execution of the arrest warrants.

This decisive action by the UP State Information Commission sends a clear message regarding the importance of transparency and accountability in governmental departments, emphasizing the significance of upholding the principles of the RTI Act.

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