Girish Pattanashetti

HDMC provided ‘false’ information on Citizen Charter to RTI applicant

Public Information Officer told to appear before the commission for final hearing on the issue

The applicant was told that no document called Citizen Charter was available with the HDMC

HUBLI: The Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) has issued a notice to the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) for allegedly providing false information to an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The notice has been issued in response to a complaint filed by M.C. Sindhur, a resident of Timmasagar Temple Main Road in Vidyanagar, Hubli.

Dr. Sindhur, who had sought information on the Citizen Charter of the HDMC under the RTI Act, had complained to the commission that the corporation authorities provided him “false” information. Under Secretary S.R. Sainath Prakash has issued a notice to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the office of the Commissioner of the HDMC and asked him to appear before the commission for the final hearing on the issue on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

According to Section 20 of the RTI Act, if the respondents fail to appear before the commission or fail to provide accurate information to the applicants under the Act, they will have to pay a maximum fine of Rs. 25,000.

Penalty clause

In May 2007, when P. Manivannan was the Commissioner, the HDMC announced that it would frame the Citizen Charter and introduce a penalty clause in order to streamline administration and to bring about more transparency. The information was posted on the official website of the HDMC, www.hdmc.gov.in, and subsequently, a draft Citizen Charter was framed by the authorities. According to the HDMC, the Citizen Charter would enlist services available with the corporation and time required for execution of each of them. Under the penalty clause, the HDMC proposed to pay penalty to aggrieved citizens in case there was delay in providing the services.

The move was welcomed by citizens.

However, even after more than a year, the corporation did not come out with the final Citizen Charter. Upset over the issue, Dr. Sindhur, a physician, who was instrumental in getting a municipal road in Hubli insured, approached the HDMC for information on the status of the Citizen Charter.

He filed an application under the RTI Act seeking information on the charter on October 10, 2008.

To his surprise, Dr. Sindhur received a reply stating that no document called Citizen Charter was available with the HDMC, and same was the case with the penalty clause.

Dr. Sindhur told The Hindu that although information on the Citizen Charter was posted on the corporation website, the PIO had given “false” reply on the issue, and this forced him to approach the KIC. Although the KIC gave sufficient time for the PIO to furnish details, no information was provided to him.

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