Mumbai: RTI activist case against cop adjourned again

Mumbai: It was not just in Damini, the Hindi film which depicted a rather true picture of the judiciary, in which adjournments are a routine, with the famous line, tareeq pe tareeq. The case of a Right to Information (RTI) activist has faced the same fate, as the hearing at the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) was adjourned yet again.

Kailash Avhadh (40), the RTI activist, had been waiting for a year to see this case come up for hearing. The former assaulted the Chief Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi, who too has rooted for Avhadh and demanded justice. “Avhadh was brutally assaulted by the First Appellate Authority when he went for his RTI appeal on 23/02/2017.

His attempts to get any action against the DCP Palve yielded no results. He then went to the State Police Complaints Authority a year back,” said Gandhi. He added this authority was set up two years ago. “This complaints authority is supposed to ensure police do not misbehave, beat or torture citizens.

The rules state, they have to give decisions within 90 days.” Through an RTI query, Avhadh had sought information of the educational qualifications of a police officer, after he did not get a reply, Avhadh filed a first appeal asking for the information. When he went for the First appellate hearing, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sandeep Palve got into a rage and slapped him, which cause him a partial hearing loss to him.

This incident occurred on January 23, 2017, but no First Information Report was filed. Avhadh went to St George hospital for a medical test to confirm the hearing loss was due to the physical impact of Palve’s assault. The medical report stated, “The cause of the hearing loss was due to an assault”. Since then, Avhadh has been struggling to file a First Information Report against the DCP but the case is still to see light of the day.

In February 2018, Avhadh then approached the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to file complaint. According to the rules of the Police Complaints Authority, a report has to be submitted within 90 days. It has been over a year now, the hearing is every time adjourned by the authorities at its office in the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited building opposite Cooperage ground.

This time the hearing was adjourned as the DCP was unable to attend the hearing. Gandhi is now representing Avhadh at the PCA hearing. “We need to monitor such institutions and see that they deliver on time. Otherwise all our checks and balances become unaccountable and will not contribute to better governance”, said Gandhi. The date for the next hearing is March 6 at 11.30 am.

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