Former Delhi Chief Secretary Ramesh Narayanaswami on Thursday demitted the office of Chairperson of the Public Grievance Commission after a short tenure of about two years during which the panel widened its operations to also cover complaints against the Delhi Police. The age of superannuation in PGC is 65.
As to why the Commission had kept such a low profile, Mr. Narayanswami speaking to The Hindu said, “We never wanted publicity, we only wanted right amount of awareness to make people understand our role and how our services could benefit them.”
Expressing satisfaction with the way the PGC with only about 35 staff members handled nearly 6,000 complaints received by it each year and with the way over 2,500 cases were heard and disposed of annually, he said “in many of the cases, such as those pertaining to laying of water lines, the number of beneficiaries due to the orders were much more as completely new lines were laid in areas on our intervention”.
Another major area of achievement, he said, was Road No. 56 from Ghazipur to Dilshad Garden in East Delhi where the PGC intervened to improve the designs, lighting and safety aspects of the foot overbridges.
Mr. Narayanswami, who was given a farewell by PGC members S.K. Jain, Yasmin Khan and Dinesh K. Gupta and the staff, said the Commission is the only one of its kind in the country where a separate administrative mechanism has been set up to redress public grievances.
Averring that PGC was an administrative body and did not possess statutory powers, Mr. Narayanswami said it nevertheless enjoyed immense influence as it was headed by a retired Chief Secretary and one of the members was a retired Director General of Police. “When we took up cases with the departments, the response was always in order. In particular, we found the response of the Delhi Police to be highly prompt and proper”.
During Mr. Narayanswami’s term the Police Complaint Authority was set up to hear complaints relating to Delhi Police.
“It was good that an altogether new set up was not created for this and the existing apparatus of the PGC was utilised,’’ he said, adding that the response in over 90 per cent of the cases handled by the Commission had been found to be satisfactory by the complainants.