CIC writes to Delhi LG over AAP govt’s ‘failure’ to implement RTI Act, chief secretary directed to take action | Delhi News.

NEW DELHI: Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Uday Mahurkar has alleged “failure” of the Delhi government in properly implementing the RTI Act in the national capital and said the legislation has been reduced to a “Lame Duck Act“.
The Arvind Kejriwal government hit back saying the letter by the commissioner was written at the behest of the BJP and alleged that the Central Information Commission was indulging in “dirty politics”.
“It is painful to see that a body like the Central Information Commission is indulging in dirty politics. Delhi government takes pride in the fact that it has implemented the RTI Act in its true letter and spirit,” said a delhi government statement.
In a letter to lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena on September 22, Mahurkar claimed that various departments of the Delhi government, including public works, revenue, health and power, and the DSIIDC showed disregard to the principles of transparency and accountability under the RTI Act 2005.
The LG secretariat has directed the Delhi chief secretary to take corrective action at the earliest in the light of the letter by the commissioner.
“In view of the seriousness of issues highlighted by the CIC, the Lt Governor’s secretariat has directed the chief secretary to take requisite corrective action as per rules in place to address the matter at the earliest,” a source in the LG office said.
It has been alleged in the letter that several departments of the Delhi government either “hold back” genuine information with “ulterior motives”, “refuse” to share legitimate information with appellants or provide “misinformation” to applicants under the RTI Act.
The letter also claimed that in majority of cases, public information officers at these departments do not appear before the Central Information Commission and instead send their clerks and lower-level personnel to appear before the commission.
The letter from Mahurkar also cited specific replies from the departments, claiming “stonewalling of information” and “false and misleading information” to RTI applicants.
“In many cases there is a clear intent on their part to stonewall the information because of their questionable nexus. This is more than evident in cases where huge properties including ancestral lands are involved and clearly indicate high level corruption,” the letter read.
Citing examples, the Commissioner Mahurkar claimed that many private hospitals were not providing mandatory treatment to economically weaker section (EWS) patients.
“The total amount that all such private hospitals in Delhi owe in the form of not providing mandatory treatment to the EWS patients in the society is said to be around a whopping Rs 1,500 crores with five of them alone owing around Rs 500 crores,” the letter stated.
These hospitals had taken land at concessional rates from the Delhi government against which they had to provide subsidised treatment as part of the agreement, it said.
Further, information was not forthcoming on tenders of the Public Works Department (PWD) and other government departments which were allegedly awarded at 50-40 per cent less rates as compared to the official tender price, the letter said.
In another case, the central information commissioner claimed, the tenders of the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DSDIIC) worth Rs 100 crore, according to government estimation, were allegedly given at prices which were 40 per cent less than the official tender cost.
In a matter related to the revenue department, a genuine property owner whose ownership has been challenged by another person on the basis of “forged” documents was denied copies of the relevant documents demanded in an RTI application, claimed the commissioner’s letter.
In a “glaring” and allegedly “deliberate failure” on the part of the Delhi government, power discom BYPL, having a private company as partner, has been kept outside the purview of the RTI on the pretext of a court order, it added.
“I am sincerely trying to set things right on the issues and cases have raised in this communication by using an iron hand and even issuing warnings to the high authorities,” Mahurkar said in his letter.
He demanded necessary action in the matter saying the “malaise” ran deeper.

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