Records go ‘missing’, yet enhancements computed; Whether the issue of enhancement is disturbing the citizens?
Information panel asks HSVP to lodge FIR against official
The Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) issued notices of “hefty and erroneous” enhancement costs to allottees of Sector 3 in Fatehabad and when a resident sought information under the RTI Act regarding price fixation of plots, it replied that the file was not traceable.
Hearing appeal of information seeker Gagan Bajaj, an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the State Information Commission has directed the HVSP to initiate action against the delinquent official and lodge an FIR against him.
A month after the HSVP (erstwhile HUDA) sent “hefty and erroneous” notices of allottees in Fatehabad in September last year, Bajaj moved an RTI plea seeking copy of price fixation policy, price fixation formula, final price worked out by HUDA, rates approved by price fixation committee, stock inventory of all commercial and other saleable sites in the sector etc.
While Bajaj received information on some points, he was informed that the file was not traceable in the record in reply to the final price worked out and rates approved by the price fixation committee.
Smelling a rat as to how HUDA could reach a figure for enhancements when the file pertaining to price fixation is missing, Bajaj filed an appeal before the State Information Commission.
Chief Information Commissioner Yash Pal Singhal observes that the sought information relates to record which is permanent in nature. The explanation given by the respondents is not acceptable. The information sought by the appellant needs to be furnished to him.
“The commission recommends to the Chief Administrator, HSVP, Panchkula, that if any record is not available relating to this RTI application, then appropriate action be initiated against the delinquent as per the applicable service rules. If any mala fide is proved for misplacing the records then FIR be registered against the delinquent official with the police under intimation to the commission latest by September 28,” the order reads.
Notably, it is not the first instance where the HVSP has informed information seekers that the records were untraceable.
In a similar matter, then State Information Commissioner Urvashi Gulati had ordered registration of an FIR in 2014.
However, when information was recently sought as to whether any letter has been written so far to the police to lodge the FIR, the HVSP had replied in the negative.