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GOVERNMENT TO PROSECUTE RTI APPLICANT? ITS SHAME ON DEMOCRACY

During hearing of a complaint filed by Dr. K Shivaram, Retired Asst. Director of Dept. of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science  it was disclosed through written statement filed by the Public Information Officer that Chief Secretary had permitted Dr. Aswath, Commissioner for Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinery Services to file a defamaton case  against Dr. K Shivaram.  Immediately we brought it to the notice of the Commission the manner in which RTI applicants are being treated by the State Government.  In a similar case it is reported that Inspector General of Registration and Commissioner of Stamps had also approached the Chief Secretary with a similar request to file defamation case against a few RTI applicants who had sought information on the functioning of the Registration Department in the State.  In an another incidence two Revenue Inspectors of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had also issued Legal Notice to an RTI applicant.  We brought this to the notice of  Sri. K A Thippeswamy, Commissioner, who heard the case of Dr. Shivaram on 26.5.2008.  Immediately the Commissioner ordered for filing a written statement by the Public Information Officer and demanded an explantion from him as to how seeking information amounts to defamation.  Commission also ordered for placing all available records with the Office of the Chief Secretary relating to sanction of permission to Dr.Aswath, IAS., to file a defamation case.  Complaint was adjourned to 9th September 2008.
 
I am reproducing below a news report published in the Bangalore Edition of Indian Express on 27.5.2008
 
Indian Express Blore 27/05/2008 --- Basavaraj Itnal |ENS| May 26

In a move that can discourage applicantsfrom seeking information , the
Karnataka Government has deceided to sue an applicant Dr K Shivramfor
seeking information under the RTI . Omn December 11,2007 , Shivram a
Retd Asst Director of the Department of AH & VS sought information about
the Annual  Statements of Assets & liabilities of the Commissioner of AH
& VS D S Ashwath .
The Information in question was treated as 3rd party information and
Ashwath failed to disclose the same . Following an appeal to Karnataka
Information Commission (KIC) shivram was asked what public cause would be
served by the disclosure of Ashwaths assets statement. Ashwath also
wrote to the chief Secretary seeking permission to sue Shivram for
Defamation. what is more SHOCKING IS THAT THE CHEIF SECRERTARY HAS GRANTED
PERMISSION FOR PROSECUTION..
Mahithi Hakku Adayayana Kendra Trustees Vikram Simha and BH veeresh
saiod that the Government ios doing everything to scuttle the RTI Act .
First the Karnataka government haS NO BUSINESS IN TRATING ASSETS
STATEMENTS AS 3RD PARTY INFORMATION .  IT IS A SERIOUS VIOLATION OF THE sPIRIT
OF rti aCT TO SUE AN APPLICANT MERELY FOR SEEKING INFORMATION.vIKRAM
SAID . VEERESHA SAID THAT THEY WOULD TAKE UP THE ISSUE WITH KIC.



B.H. VEERESHA
MAHITHI HAKKU ADHYAYANA KENDRA
54, 17TH CROSS, M C LAYOUT
VIJAYANAGAR, BANGALORE 560 040
TEL.NO. 9448704693

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