Panel directs info be put up by March 14

Saturday, 22 February 2014 - 7:21am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state information commission has pulled up the information officer of the police department for not heeding an earlier order to put up details about undertrials on its website, and it directed the officer in charge of prisons to do it within a month.

The order was issued by Ratnakar Gaikwad, chief information commissioner, earlier this week, on an application by Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner.

The commission ordered the public information officer (PIO) and the inspector general of prisons, to put up the information on the web by March 10, 2014. It asked the PIO to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him and why he should not be fined.

"I think it was terrible that the prisons department flouted the order of the commission blatantly," said Gandhi.

When asked about the matter, Meeran Borwankar, additional director general of police and inspector general of prisons, said, "All prison superintendents have been given strict instructions to upload this information. DIGs are monitoring that it is done. For anyone to be in prison for eight years when not due is not correct."

In April last year, the commission had, in response to Gandhi's initial application, directed the prison authorities to suo motu put up the information on its website, so public-spirited citizens could take up the cases of the undertrials who had no means to fight their case.

When this was not implemented, Gandhi filed a fresh RTI application in October seeking details of undertrials, who have been in jail for a period of more than half the maximum term that they would have been liable to serve for their offences. But again he did not get a response and he filed an appeal before the commission.

A cursory check of the Maharashtra prison department's website showed some information about the Pune jail. It stated that five prisoners, who would have got six months in prison had already served more than eight years.

"It is scandalous that people are languishing in jail for so long," said Gandhi.

 


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