In this month alone, the state information commission has asked the BMC to pay citizens Rs 80,000 for not providing them information they had sought under RTI, as well as harassing them in the process.
In its April 3 issue, dna had reported that BMC was asked to pay four citizens Rs 1.15 lakh as compensation in this connection. Of this amount, Rs 60,000 was to be paid to one person alone on two orders passed on April 1.
And in two orders the information commission passed on April 2, BMC was ordered to pay two different applicants Rs 10,000 each. These orders were passed by the state chief information commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad.
The two applicants are Jeetendra Sawant, a resident of Kurla, and Suryaprakash Solunke of Dahisar.
Sawant had demanded from the corporation an amount that was to be returned to him since 2010. He had deposited some amount with the corporation for transfer/handover of a property. The BMC did not return the money to him. He filed an application seeking to know what exactly the corporation had done to ensure that the money was returned to him. But the public information officer (PIO) did not provide Sawant any information despite the first appellate authority's (FAA) directing him to do so.
It was in this connection that the information commission pulled up the PIO and asked BMC to pay the applicant Rs 10,000 as compensation. Invoking the Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act (Act 21 of 2006), the commission asked the BMC commissioner to conduct an inquiry and fix the responsibility in the case.
Solunke was asked to be compensated because R/South (Kandivli) ward had refused him information on some illegal construction. The PIO and the FAA did not attend the hearing, and the information commission observed that it showed the irresponsibility on their part. Stating that the information sought was in public interest, the commission asked the people concerned to provide Solunke the information he had sought and also compensate him.
When contacted, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte was not available for comment.