State Information Commissioner (SIC) R. Pratapkumar on Monday urged the public information officers (PIO) to treat courteously petitioners approaching them seeking information.
He made this remark at the awareness meeting for the PIOs in Thanjavur district at the Collectorate, citing a circular issued in this regard by the Central Information Commission. “The CIC had directed the PIOs to offer seat to the petitioners approaching them and if needed should provide them with water and put them at ease,” he added.
Asking the PIOs to develop a positive mindset in approaching petitions filed under RTI, the SIC said that in case if a petitioner seeks information by raising several questions in a petition the PIOs should try to convince the petitioner to raise the questions in batches wherein each petition contains queries of not more than 20 or 25 numbers so that it would be convenient for the PIOs to provide the details.
Giving a warning to the PIOs that any lame excuses from Revenue department officers such as ‘ record not available’ or ‘not able to retrieve record’ given as replies to the appeals forwarded from the SIC would be liable to attract penal action, Mr. Pratapkumar said and added that the primary duty of the department was to preserve the records. In case if the said records have been destroyed as per rules, such reply should be supported by the “documents destroyed certificate” issued by the competent authority, he added. Earlier, the SIC conducted inquiry with respect to 20 RTI appeal pending cases in the presence of Collector A. Annadurai.
(source :The Hindu)